Cornwall Council says IT partner BT is ‘failing to deliver’

Cornwall Council said it has seen worsening IT incident resolution rates and falling user satisfaction since BT started delivering IT support in October 2013.

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Cornwall Council has accused its outsourced IT partner BT of failing to deliver promised commitments less than two years into a 10-year, £260 million deal.

The trend of IT delivery has been “generally downward” since BT took over, with IT incident resolution falling from 97 percent to 70 percent from September 2014 to February this year, according to council documents. User satisfaction with ICT has been "much reduced", the report said.

BT signed a 10-year, £260 million deal to run IT, telecare, human resources, document management and other services with Cornwall Council and local healthcare bodies in October 2013. The venture was controversial, with then-council leader Alex Robertson ousted in a vote of no confidence after lengthy internal disputes over the contract. 

BT has delivered just a third of the promised jobs since the contract started and service transformation ‘has not reached anything like the intended levels’ with just 38 percent of targets delivered, the report said.

While it has achieved promised savings, BT has met just 64 percent of the council’s "key performance indicators" for the contract, it added.

An upgrade from Windows XP to Windows 7 overseen by BT was “substantially delayed” after implementation problems, the authority revealed.

The upgrade has largely finished “but the failure to upgrade the network is leading to capacity and performance issues”, it added.

The council also “might be paying twice for replacement assets” due to the lack of an asset refresh policy.

The council said senior BT staff fully appreciate the “serious concerns” raised and “are putting significant effort into turning things around”, adding that progress will be closely monitored.

BT has appointed a new senior management team to try to turn around the deal,

Cabinet member councillor Andrew Wallis described the review as “damning”. “BTC [BT Cornwall] have had two years to deliver this contract and have failed,” he said.

Wallis warned that if BTC do not deliver their commitments by summer “I am afraid we must be in the area of looking to terminate the contract. I feel if this was a full private sector deal, the contract most likely have already been torn-up.”

A BT spokesman said: “We are working closely with our partners on this project to ensure we deliver on all aspects of the contract”.

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