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London cops seeking £600m mega IT contract to knock 'towers' sprawl into 'one throat to choke'


London's Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) has published its first procurement notice to consolidate its IT "towers" in a contract worth £600m over five years.

Currently the body's IT contracts are structured via a multi-supplier "Towers Model". This had previously been viewed as a way of breaking up huge IT contracts with single suppliers into more manageable "chunks". However, the model has rarely worked in practice, with some public sector bodies seemingly reverting back to the "one throat to choke" approach instead.

Between 2015 and 2017, the MPS awarded its Service Integration & Management to Atos, Network Services to BT, Data Centres Services to Keysource, Hosting Services to DXC, End User Services to DXC and Application Support Services to Accenture.

These contracts are due to terminate over the next three years and will be consolidated into two towers as part of Pegasus, noted Dale Peters at TechMarketView.

"This contract notice covers the Infrastructure Services tower of the new programme, which will consolidate five of the existing towers, plus some additional services, into a single tower.

"By taking this approach, the MPS is looking to reduce the complexity involved in managing relationships with a large number of major suppliers. Procurement of the Application Services tower is due to commence in 2021, with the MPS intending to appoint a different supplier as the prime for each tower," he said.

The Infrastructure Services tower covers: service desk; service management; hosting services (including data centre services); network services; end user services; cyber security services and security operations centre; mobile voice and data; and managed print.

It will also be looking to procure a "run and maintain" contract with no pre-planned transformation built into the contract.

"The authority has a strong preference for appointing a different supplier to each of the infrastructure and applications towers, to ensure independence between the two roles as the infrastructure supplier will be managing the applications supplier to some extent," it said.

The move is part of the Met's Pegasus Programme, and the body hopes to "seize the opportunities of data, digital and technology to be a world leader in policing".

However, the Met has a troubled history of IT projects. In 2016 it admitted to spending £100m on 37 technology projects that have been either stopped or need to be "corrected" as part of its "project cull" strategy.

The force also canned its £90m command-and-control system responsible for handling 999 calls with Northrop Grumman following major delays.

Most recently, the body has come under fire for its potentially unlawful use of facial recognition, which has also failed to work in the majority of cases. ®

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