Capita signs SWAN contract with damages challenge looming

Capita has signed a framework contract to deliver a Scottish Wide Area Network (SWAN) after fending off a legal challenge to the awarding of the contract by rival bidder BT.

Seven councils are already signed up to join the network, which was procured by support body NHS National Services Scotland.

But the public sector body faces a claim for damages from BT, which failed to overturn the contract award in Scotland’s Court of Session last week.

NHS NSS chief executive Ian Crichton said: “Following extensive dialogue over the last year, I am pleased to announce the award of the SWAN Contract to Capita.

“This was the strongest bid and offers excellent value for money for the public purse.”

The contract value for SWAN is up to £325m over nine years. More than 4,600 sites will be connected to the initial network including schools, hospitals, GP surgeries, pharmacists and local council offices.

The project aims establish a single shared network and common ICT infrastructure across Scotland’s entire public sector in order to provide reduced costs, improved service and the ability to share data across organisations.

Four “vanguard” organisations, representing 30 public service organisations in Scotland – NHS Scotland, Education Scotland, Pathfinder North (five local authorities) and Pathfinder South (two local authorities) – are the first to commit to the network.

Pathfnder North includes the Highland Council, Argyle and Bute Council, Orkney Island Council, Moray Council and Comhairle nan  Eilean Siar, while Pathfinder South comprises Dumfries and Galloway Council and The Borders Council.

A further 11 organisations are planning to join in 2014, Capita said.

A spokesman for BT said: “Though BT’s primary aim was always to seek a re-run of the procurement process, the case will now proceed as a damages claim.”

Colin Marrs

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