Authority aims to slash costs by £11 million through seven-year contract with Indian technology company
Highland Council has signed a new ICT services contract with Indian technology and outsourcing firm Wipro, with plans for a more diverse use of hardware, a shift to using Chromebook computers in schools, and new investments in its network.
It has confirmed the deal following an indication during August that Wipro was its preferred bidder.
The council said the contract will run for seven years and the EU contract award notice states the value is £50.8 million.
It has a target to take in the region of £11 million out of its costs over the life of the contract, as well as delivering a programme of community benefits.
There have been concerns, expressed in the local media, that Wipro’s background in offshoring operations would affect local employment. But the council said Wipro is proposing to have a “significant workforce” in the Highlands, and that it expects ICT staff employed under its expiring contract with Fujitsu to transfer to the new supplier under TUPE regulations.
The contract will include the replacement and rationalisation of Highland Council’s managed desktop services, amounting to approximately 17,000 devices, with a mixture of thin clients, laptops and desktops.
There are also plans to introduce approximately 20,000 one-to-one devices, notably Chromebooks, in the council’s schools, and related project will involve investment in new and upgraded networks.
However, the deal does not include any wide area network or telephony services, which are subject to existing contracts.
Councillor Bill Fernie, chair Highland Council’s resources committee, said: “ICT is a fundamental enabler in us delivering modern 21st century services and this new contract will support and enable considerable business change and transition within the council, as well as exciting developments such as computer tablets for pupils.”
He added: “We need to deliver significant cost savings through delivering services in innovative ways, making the best use of new technologies and I am confident we have chosen an ICT supplier which is best placed to help us achieve this.”
The council’s chair of education, child and adult services, Councillor Drew Millar, said the contract should help it to modernise its teaching and learning through the introduction of the new devices to every child from P6 upwards.
Image: Nitesh Jian from Wipro and Councillor Bill Fernie at the contract signing