UK's Cleveland Police: We want to fling our HR wares into the cloud. Oh, and IT can move back in

Outsourcing deal with Sopra Steria ending, and good times ahead for in-sourced tech crew propping up crumbly software


Cleveland Police force in north east England has set aside £2.5m of taxpayer's cash for a managed services provider that can drag its 8-year-old HR software into the cloud, without a significant upgrade.

A tender notice published yesterday, said the force is looking to extend the life of its Oracle HR E-business suite as the end of a controversial IT outsourcing contract with Sopra Steria would leave the software unsupported from October 2020.

The winning bidder for the three-year contract, as described by the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) for Cleveland, will service the Oracle e-business suite and Capita's Duty Management system.

According to this document from the PCC for Cleveland [PDF], the decision to go to the cloud was taken last October.

It noted that a £175m contract with Sopra Steria, signed way back in 2010, included a "service improvement programme" and the roll-out of Oracle E-business Suite for HR, along with other HR software.

That agreement went live in 2012, but as the October document noted, "that platform is now aged and coming towards the end of its expected useful life and requires significant investment and work to either upgrade or replace. It is not possible to upgrade the software on the current hardware…"

When the contract with Sopra Steria ends, the current version will "no longer be fit to receive updates and patches beyond December 2021 resulting in potential security risks alongside organisational risks, in terms of the ability to pay staff and invoices should something go wrong," it warned.

Still, although the decision was taken to re-platform and update the software, a full application upgrade to Oracle Fusion in the cloud has not been included in the project's spec.

Presumably, this is because cash is tight and there is little appetite for change in the current climate. The decision was taken to "migrate and re-platform to Oracle Cloud" as it "fits with the force's strategy to move to cloud base products; it sits within the financial envelope available and will provide minimal impact on service users…"

At the same time, Cleveland's PCC said the £2.5m tender represents "an affordable solution that minimises the need for significant business and process change while mitigating a number of significant risks."

The upgraded E-Business Suite is set to be supported by Oracle until 2030. The Register has requested more detail from the Police and Crime Commissioner for Cleveland.

Sopra Steria's soon-to-end outsourcing contract also included a command and control centre, as well as IT, procurement, finance and HR service. Last year, Cleveland cops decided to in-source the control room, in mutual agreement with Sopra Steria, with all parties agreeing that it was the right step to manage the current demands placed on the force.

The outsourcing decision a decade ago attracted criticism at the time: the agreement was supposed to avoid job losses, but in 2012, Sopra Steria made 30 people redundant, which union Unison claimed [PDF] the police authority had paid for.

The contract also lacked transparency, flexibility and accountability, the Union added at the time.

As the Sopra Steria contract comes to an end this year, the IT department for Cleveland Police is also set to move back in-house. So, it looks like they'll be tasked with keeping ageing software running, which is pretty much where they were before the multi-million pound outsourcer took over 10 years ago. ®

Similar topics


Other stories you might like

  • Prisons transcribe private phone calls with inmates using speech-to-text AI

    Plus: A drug designed by machine learning algorithms to treat liver disease reaches human clinical trials and more

    In brief Prisons around the US are installing AI speech-to-text models to automatically transcribe conversations with inmates during their phone calls.

    A series of contracts and emails from eight different states revealed how Verus, an AI application developed by LEO Technologies and based on a speech-to-text system offered by Amazon, was used to eavesdrop on prisoners’ phone calls.

    In a sales pitch, LEO’s CEO James Sexton told officials working for a jail in Cook County, Illinois, that one of its customers in Calhoun County, Alabama, uses the software to protect prisons from getting sued, according to an investigation by the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

    Continue reading
  • Battlefield 2042: Please don't be the death knell of the franchise, please don't be the death knell of the franchise

    Another terrible launch, but DICE is already working on improvements

    The RPG Greetings, traveller, and welcome back to The Register Plays Games, our monthly gaming column. Since the last edition on New World, we hit level cap and the "endgame". Around this time, item duping exploits became rife and every attempt Amazon Games made to fix it just broke something else. The post-level 60 "watermark" system for gear drops is also infuriating and tedious, but not something we were able to address in the column. So bear these things in mind if you were ever tempted. On that note, it's time to look at another newly released shit show – Battlefield 2042.

    I wanted to love Battlefield 2042, I really did. After the bum note of the first-person shooter (FPS) franchise's return to Second World War theatres with Battlefield V (2018), I stupidly assumed the next entry from EA-owned Swedish developer DICE would be a return to form. I was wrong.

    The multiplayer military FPS market is dominated by two forces: Activision's Call of Duty (COD) series and EA's Battlefield. Fans of each franchise are loyal to the point of zealotry with little crossover between player bases. Here's where I stand: COD jumped the shark with Modern Warfare 2 in 2009. It's flip-flopped from WW2 to present-day combat and back again, tried sci-fi, and even the Battle Royale trend with the free-to-play Call of Duty: Warzone (2020), which has been thoroughly ruined by hackers and developer inaction.

    Continue reading
  • American diplomats' iPhones reportedly compromised by NSO Group intrusion software

    Reuters claims nine State Department employees outside the US had their devices hacked

    The Apple iPhones of at least nine US State Department officials were compromised by an unidentified entity using NSO Group's Pegasus spyware, according to a report published Friday by Reuters.

    NSO Group in an email to The Register said it has blocked an unnamed customers' access to its system upon receiving an inquiry about the incident but has yet to confirm whether its software was involved.

    "Once the inquiry was received, and before any investigation under our compliance policy, we have decided to immediately terminate relevant customers’ access to the system, due to the severity of the allegations," an NSO spokesperson told The Register in an email. "To this point, we haven’t received any information nor the phone numbers, nor any indication that NSO’s tools were used in this case."

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021