Update: Soca IT overhaul may double to £800m

The Serious Organised Crime Agency could nearly double the size of its planned IT overhaul to £800 million, extending services it procures to other policing authorities.

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The Serious Organised Crime Agency could nearly double the size of its planned IT overhaul to £800 million, extending services it procures to other policing authorities.

The original plan was for a large IT upgrade costing between £300 million and £500 million, replacing Soca’s 400-plus legacy systems, and award procedures were scheduled to have begun over a week ago on 20 January. It wants a “coherent, integrated” IT setup that will be more aligned with its business processes and strategy, it said.

But Soca is now considering a wider contract that would allow for services to be extended to other policing departments with similar requirements. The ‘2010 Programme’ will be a 10 year deal, with a break option at seven years and an opportunity for a two year extension.

“Under Soca's commitment to the government's wider collaborative agenda, it is intended to structure any contract(s) resulting from this procurement to allow use by the Home Office including the UK Border Agency, the Identity and Passport Service, the Criminal Records Bureau, the National Police Improvement Agency, [and] UK police authorities,” Soca wrote in a contract notice.

But it said such an extension of the scope is “not guaranteed”, indicating that it and other departments will first consider the strategies put forward by suppliers. Bidders have until 17 March to submit a request to participate, which can be made on the government’s esourcing portal, BravoSolution. A pre-briefing session will be held on 9 February in central London.

A spokesperson a Soca told Computerworld UK that the agency had over 400 legacy systems running, gained in 2006 when the agency was formed out of the merger of the National Crime Squad, the National Criminal Intelligence Service, the National Hi-Tech Crime Unit.

Soca now wants to pare these systems down to a more manageable and useful setup, which would also be cheaper to run, the spokesperson said. "The rationalisation of IT systems will allow us to make better use of staff time, increase capacity and improve use of our intelligence systems."

The government is attempting to save £1.4 billion annually on IT projects by using shared services such as in this instance. But in May a report by a powerful group of MPs said the claims were “a flimsy estimate at best”. A shared services scheme at the Department for Transport (DfT) that was meant to save £57 million, is set to make losses of £81 million instead, owing to poor project and supplier management.

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