Public Services > Devolved

Glasgow mulls Edinburgh’s landmark CGI deal as prime option to replace ACCESS

David Bicknell Published 07 November 2016

Outline business case planned for February 2017 as Glasgow looks set to piggyback on Edinburgh's CGI relationship


With the end of its ACCESS joint-venture IT services partnership with Serco on the horizon, Glasgow City Council appears ready to explore the potential of a relationship with CGI, using a framework contract that City of Edinburgh Council (CEC) has established with the Canadian IT group.

The framework contract has already been used by Scottish Borders Council to conclude its own separate deal with CGI and now Glasgow may be set to follow suit.

Glasgow’s relationship with Serco for the provision of ICT services will come to an end on March 31 2018 and there is no built-in provision for renewing the contract.

It is understood that council officials have been reviewing the options for the future delivery of IT services to the council ‘family’ and the appraisal has determined that continuing with external provision could deliver what the council requires for £100m less than adopting a comparable in-house option.

A report and strategic business case was approved by the council’s Executive Committee on Thursday October 27 and the committee has given political approval for officers to explore the option of testing a series of criteria against the Edinburgh contract already established with CGI.

It is understood that the council’s ambition is to have an ICT service which:

• delivers assistive technology which improves the ability of its vulnerable citizens to live independently

• provides greater support for raising attainment and achievement by providing all of the council’s schools with the best network infrastructure in Scotland and allowing all learners to use their own devices to learn

• uses technology to transform learning by creating two continually evolving “classrooms of the future” to facilitate innovative teaching

• supports a drive to achieve a sustained and permanent decrease in youth unemployment by sponsoring 100 long term unemployed citizens through accredited training each year

• reduces the city's digital divide by providing devices every year to digitally deprived communities or charities

• supports residents’ desire to have libraries at the heart of their communities by providing all of our libraries with excellent network and Wi-Fi infrastructure

• provides world class network and Wi-Fi infrastructure in the council’s business incubator offices

• supports improvement in the council & its partners’ success rates in early intervention by providing data analytics for health and social care

• provides the ability to make sure the majority of council transaction types are automated and available on-line

• ensures that a minimum of 25% of the contract value would be spent on local SMEs

The council also wants to protect the interests of its staff, with the council leader, councillor Frank McAveety, adamant that his administration is not willing to consider any contract that does not guarantee jobs, terms and conditions and pensions.

He said, “Our ambition is to deliver an even better IT service within the council and for the citizens of Glasgow. In particular, we have plans to transform the services provided to our schools.

"However, job security and preservation of the terms and conditions of our staff are a key element in our plans. These issues are a fundamental part of what we would be looking for in any negotiations with any new provider before officers could recommend the council enters into any contract.”

It is believed that CGI has made contact with the council to say it is committed to protecting staff terms, should a contract eventually be agreed. CGI, however, said it was unable to comment.

The next stage in the project is expected to be the development of an outlined business case that tests the assumptions made and the success factors established by the council. The outline business case is expected to either confirm or reject the option of using the Edinburgh framework, with the proposed service and commercial models set to be tested between the council and CGI. It is understood that a “significant amount of discussion and information sharing requires to be undertaken with CGI.”

The outline business case, which will examine the legal framework and contract terms required, is expected to be presented to the executive committee by the end of February 2017.

Glasgow’s currently annual budget for ICT is £57m, giving an available budget of £399m over seven years. Its team set out to identify a “long list” of potential options for the future delivery of ICT services. This resulted in sixteen options being identified. A short list of seven options was then identified, which read:

  • Take the whole IT service in-house and create a new ICT department
  • Convert ACCESS to a wholly owned limited liability partnership (LLP) that only delivers core business as usual (BAU) services, and deliver the change and transformation work in-house
  • Convert ACCESS to a wholly owned LLP for the full scope of service, i.e. BAU, change and transformation
  • Retain a JV model (similar to ACCESS) but go to market to procure a new JV partner (with secondment model)
  • Convert ACCESS to a wholly owned LLP that only delivers core BAU services, and procure an external party to deliver the change and transformation work
  • Use the City of Edinburgh Council framework to procure a new ICT service provider
  • Go to the market and procure a new single service provider using a flexible output based outsourcing contract

In March, Scottish Borders Council agreed a £92m contract for digital services with CGI in a move which will create 200 jobs locally. Scottish Borders was named as a partner by City of Edinburgh Council (CEC) throughout Edinburgh's ICT service own re-procurement exercise, meaning it had the opportunity to contract directly with CGI as the winning bidder on the CEC tender.


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