Belfast IT firm in web and dev deal with UK Home Office

20 May 2011

Belfast IT services company Kainos has been awarded a major web maintenance and development contract by the Home Office, the UK’s lead government department for crime, drugs policy, the police, counter terrorism, and immigration and passports.

The company said the award is based on the success of previous Home Office project work carried out by Kainos through its ‘Causeway’ division, which specialises in managed application services.

Under the new service relationship, Kainos will have overall responsibility for the Home Office’s web content management system, Alterian’s Morello. Having already successfully fine tuned the system, the goal for Kainos now is to ensure its ongoing performance and availability.

The contract award is timely as it coincides with the Home Office’s move to formally drop its public-facing web content to focus on corporate information, in line with the Transformational Government programme.

“Our relationship with Kainos Causeway is very strategic,” explained Emma Charles, project management and technical team leader, Home Office eCommunications.

“Although we have a technical team, it is by no means as big or diverse as what Kainos can offer. Where there was previously a gap and an element of risk, we are now fully covered in terms of service continuity.”

Developer days

There is also scope for further development work, as and when necessary. “We only have one developer on the team. Now, when things get hectic, we can offload some of the work onto Kainos Causeway,” added Emma.

“We buy a bank of days which we use for service requests first, but if there is any time left over we can use this for development. This makes it very easy to justify what we’re getting for our money. Other service providers work on a monthly flat-fee basis, making it hard to demonstrate value. Kainos Causeway has a more realistic attitude, which I’ve never come across before.”

By monitoring the website closely, Kainos Causeway is able to ensure stable performance despite peaks in traffic in the event of major incidents, political events or the unveiling of new policies or crime statistics. The site receives around 1.5m page views in a regular month.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years