The UK's Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is buying 11,000 iPhone SE handsets and support from IBM through reseller XMA.
The government phones are all 64GB iPhone SE (2020) models. The contract reportedly totals 4,181,628 GBP for 11,000 Apple handsets. Even with support, the sale comes in at about 5% less than retail that Apple sells each of the Touch ID phones for in the UK.
As part of that cost, the reseller is including asset tagging for each government-issued phone. The tags are tamper-evident and waterproof, allowing the bureau to protect their devices. Each tag has a bar code and number tied to the phone's IMEI and serial number.
The UK agency bought the iPhones as part of a Crown Commercial Service (CCS) framework agreements, an organization that helps buyers in the government and public sectors to purchase supplies. The department also awarded a deal to procurement consultancy Bramble Hub to support government IBM software. That deal is worth up to 4.25 million pounds.
The DWP handles welfare, pensions and child maintenance policy. The agency is the UK's biggest public service department, administering State Pension and various working age, disability, and ill health benefits to around 20 million claimants and customers.
The UK has a history of volume Apple product purchases. In September 2020, the government's Department of Health and Social Care bought 11,000 iPads for care homes to help residents keep in touch with family during the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2018, the government partnered with the U.S. company to provide A.I. coding workshops at UK Apple Stores as part of the "Year of Engineering."