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Gloucester City Council to move ICT in-house


Mark Say Managing Editor

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Gloucester City Council has decided to pull its ICT services back in-house with the possibility of finding an alternative arrangement in the longer term.

It has taken the step following Civica’s withdrawal from negotiations on a new contract and amid prolonged disruptions to its ICT systems following a cyber attack late last year.

The decision to move to an in-house provision was taken at a cabinet committee meeting earlier this month, based on the submission of a report on various options.

It is intended to take place “at the earliest opportunity”, according to the meeting’s minutes, while a review is carried out into viable options. These include making the in-house provision long term, but there are also possibilities for joining a local authority shared service or carrying out a procurement through a relevant framework.

The option of procuring on the open market has been dismissed.

Extension uncertainty

This comes after Civica – which had provided an outsourced ICT service for Gloucester since 2014 – decided in February to pull out of negotiations for a new contract, although according to a report in The Stack it has agreed on an 18-month extension on the existing deal with the council having a three-month exit clause.

It is not yet clear when this could be put into effect, but a report within the agenda for the cabinet meeting states: “Since Civica withdrew from entering into a new arrangement with the council, it has become increasingly clear that the advantages of remaining in a relationship with Civica for core ICT services are no longer there; there is clear movement away from IT outsourcing and a pivot towards software services.”

The uncertainty has added to the council’s problems with services being severely disrupted by a cyber attack, which struck on 20 December and, according to Gloucestershire Live, has been linked to hackers operating out of the former Soviet Union.

Disruption and delays

A statement on the council’s website – visible on 13 May – says it has limited access to systems and that: “Following a cyber incident we are experiencing some disruption to services and residents may experience delays but we are working hard to minimise the impact,” it says.

It adds that the council is working with the National Cyber Security Centre and the National Crime Agency, and that it is not yet possible to give a timeframe for resolving the issues.

It also says the council has been able to put in place alternative ways of supporting customers.

The minutes of the cabinet meeting indicate that Civica's withdrawal was not related to the cyber incident.

The council has been contacted for comment.

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