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Glasgow plans to leave ICT in external hands


City council’s business case document points to interest in Edinburgh-style deal with CGI

Glasgow City Council is looking to stick to the use of an external provider for its ICT services, but with a possible move away from its existing deal with Serco to a model used by City of Edinburgh in its deal with CGI.

The plan has been outlined in a summary of the strategic business case for the services, with an indication that approval is being sought to develop a case on external supply, testing the assumptions against the Edinburgh-CGI contract. It would aim at reporting back next February.

The document conveys the option of a new external deal as more attractive than the alternatives of taking ICT in-house, running it in a joint venture with a supplier or adopting a mixed approach. It says it is more likely to stay within budget over seven years, with a low risk of cost increases and a high ability to make the council more agile and innovative in its business.

It also says it will take just 15-18 months to implement the change – about half the time of the joint venture and mixed options – and will stand a good chance of delivering about 25% of the final business to SMEs.

Among the other advantages it cites in using an external supplier is that large companies have already made big investments in infrastructure that are available to all their clients and can reduce costs. Also, an external arrangement provides access to pools of specialist skills, and can bring in other innovative solutions.

Expiring deal

Glasgow is moving towards the end of a 10 year contract with Serco that it says has saved £73 million from its base budget, and has provided an upgraded ICT infrastructure since it began in 2008.

While it is a not a certainty that the new contract will go to CGI, the plan indicates that the company is building on its success with Scottish local authorities.  In addition to the seven year Edinburgh deal it signed last year, it reached an agreement on 13 year contract with Scottish Borders in March of this year.

Glasgow’s move prompted analyst company TechMarketView to comment that CGI is apparently gaining ground through its partnership with software company Agilysys which has considerable experience in the local government market.

“CGI has made a smart move in partnering with local government stalwart Agilisys, which brings its experience in understanding local authority needs, including those outside of the core tender requirements, and stepping up to the mark,” said research director Georgina O’Toole. “We presume that CGI will use this experience to build a strong business case in Glasgow.”

Pictured: Glasgow from Queen’s Park by Chris Haikney, CC-BY-SA-3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

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