Police ICT Company ponies up £12m for one platform to rule UK cops' social media orifices

Procurement limb seeks fully auditable contact channel for reporting crimes, emergencies – what could go wrong?


The Police ICT Company, which handles procurement for forces across the UK, has millions in taxpayer cash to spend on a master mobile and desktop platform to "operate and control" all corporate social media channels.

A prior information notice was published last week confirming that the buying arm of cops in Britain will be given £12m to establish a framework of suppliers to build the system.

"The contracting authority is seeking to procure a multi-supplier framework agreement on behalf of UK Policing, with scope for the procured services to be rolled out to other emergency services in the future," the tender stated.

"The framework will be for the delivery of a mobile and desktop based social media management platform, which will enable users to operate and control all their corporate social media channels in one place in a safe, secure and auditable way," the document continued.

This is for both inbound and outbound contact and "engagement", said the tender. The platform will be used to facilitate "social media as a public contact channel for the recording of crime and incidents, including emergencies, with the ability to fully audit all contact and activities and allow the export of data for criminal justice purposes".

What could go wrong?

The platform will also be used to provide "basic insight data" based on key words, type of content, demographic information, and location when it is available.

Four suppliers are being sought to sit on the framework, and the tech work required will extend to the creation and maintenance of a content management library. The platform will also be expected host live events.

The award of the framework agreement is scheduled for 31 January, following a two-stage technical evaluation during which potential suppliers will be to provide a live demo of the "off the shelf solution".

The Police ICT Company was the brainchild of former British Prime Minister Theresa May in 2011 when she was Home Secretary. The idea was that cops needed to be closer to the decision making when choosing systems and services. As is typical with such buying vehicles, big savings were also sought.

Some 43 forces across Britain use the company to buy services and technology. Outsourcing was initially expected to play a part in the plan to reduce the £1bn police spend on tech annually, but that didn't happen. The cloud was another strategic priority that was mentioned in 2016, but that hasn't been fully embraced either.

Around 17 months ago, the Police ICT Company cancelled plans to push ahead with a £500m procurement of software but it was cancelled, with the operation telling us it had begun "developing an alternative model". ®


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