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Scottish Public Pensions Agency plans procurement to upgrade IT

03/09/19

Mark Say Managing Editor

The Scottish Public Pensions Agency (SPPA) is planning a procurement as an early step in an upgrade of its digital systems.

SPPA entrance sign

This comes a few weeks after Audit Scotland published a sharp criticism of the SPPA for failures in a major IT project to integrate its administration and payment operations.

The Scottish Government Digital Directorate has announced that it is planning to publish the procurement notice on behalf of the SPPA next week. It will be for a dynamic purchasing system for digital technology services, initially with a single lot focused on projects.

It indicated that the focus will be on the early stages of a transformation process, highlighting the need to review the business and technical architecture, develop a target operating model and draw up an action plan. It also wants to develop a longer term procurement strategy with a partner.

The choice to set up a dynamic purchasing system – an increasingly popular mechanism in the public sector – gives the organisation in charge the ability to add new suppliers over the life of the contract.

Under par

The move reflects a strong perception that the SPPA’s digital systems have been under par, with Scotland’s central auditor having declared an earlier project had failed badly. The lack of a clear business case, adequate scrutiny of the supplier or strong governance led to a series of milestones being missed and a failure to deliver a working system.

The agency has been unable to make progress with strategic, business and workforce plans as originally intended and there has been a substantial increase in its costs.

Image from gov.scot, Open Goverment Licence v3.0

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