Edinburgh signs £186m ‘flexible’ contract with CGI

City of Edinburgh Council’s ICT contract with supplier CGI will combine a core contract with the ability to turn individual services on and off, PublicTechnology has learnt.

The council signed the seven year contract with CGI on Friday, aimed at delivering cost savings of £45m over its lifespan.

Speaking today, the council said that it had selected the supplier because of the flexibility it was offering, protecting  it from being tied into services if market shifts made alternative technology a cheaper option.

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Claudette Jones, chief information officer at the council, told PublicTechnology: “Every single outcome for each service has been specified. Contractually you can turn each on on and off. The core part of the contract is very small, covering their team to run the contract.

“This provides the supplier with an incentive to keep their prices keen – it knows we can go to other suppliers if we want to, although we are not planning to do so at this stage.”

Jones said that the council has a clear grip on termination costs for each service, with notification periods for turning off each service running from zero to just three months.

She said that CGI, in partnership with transformation specialist Agilisys, would aim to turn 150 services into self-service operations, in addition to 40 already put online by previous partner BT.

The council’s contract with BT ran for 15 years and is due to expire in March next year.

Jones said: “Our approach to channel shift is very much a ‘digital by desire’ one, and we will be offering a variety of routes for citizens to access the services.

She said that the new contract would save the council £6.4m a year over the BT contract, and would add £46m of additional value through the provision of new products and services including a new ERP system, skills upgrades and document management and internal collaboration systems.

Councillor Alasdair Rankin, convener of the council’s finance and resources committee, also told PublicTechnology that the council would be seeking to persuade other councils surrounding Edinburgh of the benefits of joining the contract in an attempt to achieve volume savings.

He said: “We have had some expressions of interest but also institutional concern that some services could be swallowed up by Edinburgh.

“However, there are ways around this and we have a job of outreach to do.”

Steve Thorn, CGI’s senior vice president, UK public sector, said: “This is an ambitious programme that will change the way citizens access and use public services and will introduce new ways of working for the council’s employees, ultimately making their jobs more productive and satisfying.

“This programme will pave the way to improve service delivery more cost effectively that will be a benchmark for other local authorities in the move to delivering digital public services.”

Colin Marrs

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