Public Services > Devolved

Glasgow faces Serco legal challenge over CGI contract

David Bicknell Published 25 May 2017

Incumbent argues decision to directly award the contract to CGI without an open competitive process would be illegal under Scottish law


It is understood that the incumbent supplier for Glasgow City Council’s ACCESS IT services project, Serco, is challenging the process by which the council is moving towards a contract with CGI to take over IT and digital services in the city. The Serco contract ends on March 31 2018.

Glasgow City Council has been set to agree a multi-million pound deal with CGI to provide IT and digital services for the council.

The contract was thought likely to be for an initial seven-year term, with a further five-year option, and was understood to be worth between £300m and £400m.

However, Serco has now said it will legally challenge the council over its procurement plans.

Liz Benison, chief executive of Serco’s UK & Europe Local and Regional Government division, said, “We have consistently said that we believe a decision to directly award the contract to CGI without an open competitive process would be illegal under Scottish law. Despite six months of attempted engagement with council officers, we were not given any convincing legal justification for the direct award, leaving us with no choice but to legally challenge the decision.

“By refusing to hold an open and fair competition, the previous administration failed to ensure they were getting the best IT service and the best value for money for Glasgow’s taxpayers. We would urge the new administration to reconsider the decision and hold a competitive process in which Glasgow residents can have confidence.”

It is understood that Serco’s concerns are primarily based around whether the award to CGI is legal, with a question being asked as to whether it breaches the council’s duties under the Public Contracts (Scotland) Regulations 2015.

A Glasgow City Council spokesman said, “We have received a challenge to the contract from Serco, which is being assessed. Challenges to procurement are not uncommon.”

At the same time as discussing CGI’s bid, Glasgow has continually been having to tread on eggshells over its relationship with Serco.

It is understood that Glasgow only resumed discussions with CGI in mid-February having had to pause work in order to protect the integrity of the ongoing procurement process, following the threat of a legal challenge from Serco.


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