Serco raises process questions over Glasgow City Council’s post-ACCESS plans
Supplier “concerned” over council’s “decision to negotiate directly with CGI rather than hold a competitive tender process”
Serco has fired a warning shot across the bows of Glasgow City Council’s plans for the potential replacement of its IT services contract which ends next March.
It emerged late last year that with the end of its ACCESS joint-venture IT services partnership with Serco on the horizon, Glasgow City Council was 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 comes 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.
However, Serco has said it is “concerned” by what it says is the city council’s “decision to negotiate directly with CGI” and has asked the city council to explain its procurement process.
In a statement, Faye Shaw, managing director of Serco’s Citizen Services business said, “We were concerned by Glasgow City Council’s decision to negotiate directly with CGI rather than hold a competitive tender process to find the best value solution, like the process carried out by Edinburgh.
“We therefore wrote to the Council in December seeking clarification on the legal basis for the procurement process they followed. We are proud to have been the Council’s trusted partner and of all that has been achieved through the ACCESS joint venture, and would very much welcome the opportunity to continue to serve the people of Glasgow.”
The council has said it has "temporarily paused work with CGI on the potential future delivery of IT services, after Serco plc informed the authority it would seek to take legal action to prevent it from pursuing a contract with CGI". It is understood that the council believes it has had "expert advice that it is following a legal and appropriate procurement route."
A report and strategic business case was approved by the council’s Executive Committee on Thursday October 27 last year with the committee given political approval for officers to explore the option of testing a series of criteria against the Edinburgh contract already established with CGI.
Adopting the framework contract used by Edinburgh and Scottish Borders would prevent Glasgow having to go through a year-long procurement process, which could involve considerable expense.
It is understood that Serco has no problem with the Edinburgh council’s procurement of CGI as its IT provider following a competitive tender process, and sees no reason to challenge that contract.
It is further understood that its thinking is that as Glasgow City Council’s partner, Serco felt obligated to highlight its concerns around the legality of the process, as its staff had been asked to participate in the due diligence activity.