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Met Police hands £250m to CSC in IT outsourcing carve-up

Firm joins Atos and Steria in taking on Dixon of Dock Green's PCs

The Met Police has handed £250m in contracts to CSC, part of its potentially risky plan to carve up large chunks of its IT in the hope that outsourcers can do a better job.

The contracts are for a £155m end user computing deal to provide managed desktop services, storage over the next five years; and a £95m hosting deal to provide various cloudy platforms, infrastructure and software-as-a-service facilities over six years.

Those deals form part of the Met's Total Technology strategy, first published in 2014 and due to be updated this year. The plans promise to shave off £200m over three years and cut ongoing IT costs by 30 per cent. The grand plan is to replace the multiple creaking systems with a 'tower' run contract model – with one supplier overseeing the separate components.

French outsourcer Atos will integrate the various chunks of the Met's IT, having won the role of service integration manager to oversee an overhaul of the force's creaking infrastructure for an undisclosed sum last year.

Contracts for the network and the applications' 'towers' are still to be awarded.

According to a question put to the London Assembly, the Met Police currently has 146 live technology projects in flight. However, the Cabinet Office has warned that the 'tower model' is no longer the government's official IT policy. Multiple sources have pointed to the Ministry of Justice's troubled attempts to adopt this model as a sign it can be problematic.

But it seems the Met is putting all its faith in outsourcers solving its IT woes, having separately announced it is cutting hundreds of jobs in a 10-year £216m mega deal with Sopra Steria, a cross-government joint venture.

The move will cut in-house staff from 800 to 100. However, London's spending watchdog had warned the Met could risk a high-profile outsourcing failure "similar to the G4S and Serco electronic tagging scandal".

Speaking to The Register last month, deputy commissioner of the Met Police, Craig Mackey, acknowledged that the force's IT strategy of outsourcing its back office IT and dividing contracts into chunks via its tower model is "not without risk."

CSC itself has a chequered history when it comes to public sector contracts. The tech supply giant was heavily involved in the NHS's National Programme for IT, but delays and failures on the project meant that by 2009 the company was losing money on the deal.

In 2012 CSC confirmed it had to write off almost $1.5bn (£1.1bn) as a result of its involvement in the National Programme for IT. ®

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