North Wales Police seek IT services partners in deals worth up to £41.6m

Force still stinging after CGI fiasco ended up costing more than hoped for

North Wales Police is tendering for new workplace, data centre, and network support contracts in deals potentially worth up to £40m after a five-year agreement with CGI offered opaque results.

According to tender documents, the Police and Crime Commissioner for North Wales Police and North Wales Police are looking for new suppliers in three major services contracts.

A contract for "managed workplace services" is set to include service desk and end user computing with value of between £6.5m to £21m.

The deal for enterprise systems services is set to support North Wales Police's on-premises data centre environment, includes 300 virtual servers and approximately 60 physical servers. It is priced between £1.7m and £12.1m. Lastly, the telecoms and network support deal is priced between £1m and £8.5m. All contracts are scheduled to start on 1 October 2022 and end on 30 September 2026.

North Wales Police has contracted out IT support before, with the value as yet unclear.

In 2015, CGI won a deal to provide the force with managed ICT and related business services in a contract initially said to be worth £17.8m over five years, with options to extend. It was expected to release £3.5m savings over the term "whilst leveraging technology assets and innovation to support transformation of operational activities," according to the vendor at the time.

But later that year, the force was forced to admit that although it hoped to save £700,000 per year by outsourcing to a single IT contractor, it wound up spending £853,000 more than it would have if it had stuck with its pre-existing system of multiple suppliers.

During a police and crime panel, North Wales Police chief finance officer Kate Jackson said: "We thought by bringing it all into one contract, rather than having seven or eight different contracts, it would save money. But the bills are coming in and they are not saving money and actually costing more," the North Wales Chronicle reported at the time.

In 2019, a North Wales police audit committee document [PDF] showed that a contract extension was agreed with CGI and signed in September. The same report shows that CGI had been paid £6.1m net in the most current financial year, more than one might expect for a fifth of a £17.8m deal.

The Register has asked North Wales Police to comment.

Updated on 2 August at 09/03 BST to add:

Following publication of this article, North Wales Police sent us a statement from Keith Williams, head of ICT.

“It’s important to note that although savings weren’t realised, the CGI contract, on a like for like basis, was actually delivering more than the previous individual contracts. The cost of the initial service decreased year on year for the original scope after the first three years, hence the extension costs were lower in a like for like comparison.

However at the time of the extension the scope had increased again due to increasing support requirements and new solutions.

“Following a review of services we are now moving to a hybrid approach with some services being outsourced and others coming in house.” ®

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