ITIL: The same destination, but a different route

When Devon & Cornwall Constabulary (D&CC) re-tendered its managed services contract in 2005, it was a unique opportunity to integrate IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL) principles within a multi-million pound outpu-based contract. This case study describes the approach taken and progress to date.


Contributed by itSMF

D&CC is one of the few police forces that have outsourced the provision of ICT services. Re-tendering of the managed services contract in 2005 provided a unique opportunity to integrate ITIL principles and processes within the services contract.

At a glance

Devon & Cornwall Constabulary is one of the few police forces that have outsourced the provision of ICT services. This project is about the re-tendering of the managed services contract in 2005.

This project focuses on the contract re-negotiation for an outsourcer provider to support D&CC’s 127 service levels, 40 of which were key performance indicators (KPIs), and how to agree on contract costs being reduced year on year.

As the Information Systems Strategy for the Police Service (ISS4PS) had identified ITIL as being the service management standard to adopt, it made it easier for D&CC to build ITIL into their contract renewal process.

Devon & Cornwall Constabulary (D&CC) covers the largest geographical police area in England, extending 180 miles from the Dorset and Somerset borders in the east to the Isles of Scilly in the west. To give some impression of the scale of the area, the eastern boundary of the Force is actually nearer to London than the furthest western extremity.

As well as IT, D&CC’s support service is responsible for the Force Telephony Network and most recently, the Airwave Tetra radio network. There are more than 6,000 users, 5,000 desktops and laptops, 5,000 airwave radio terminals, 10,000 phone desk extensions and mobiles and 200 applications supported.

IT service support has been outsourced since 1993. At the time there was strong political pressure to outsource and 'we jumped before we were pushed'. The first supplier was McDonnell Douglas subsequently renamed Northgate Information Solutions.

The hallmark of the previous outsourcing contracts has been that there were primarily resource-based, with few metrics and SLAs involved. The contract was renewed for three years with Northgate after an open tender for procurement in 2001, but when the contract came up for replacement again in 2004, D&CC used it as an opportunity for a major change.

This was in part prompted by a presentation that Aidan Lawes, the then CEO of the itSMF, gave on ITIL for Devon and Cornwall ICT staff. This helped D&CC's ICT service management team not only to understand and see the significance of ITIL, but that the police force could no longer work to a short-term plan.

After taking the ITIL Foundation courses, D&CC did a gap analysis based on what it had learned, and decided to build ITIL into the contract renewal processes. The case was helped by the Information Systems Strategy for the Police Service (ISS4PS), which is the second attempt to define the ICT architecture and services standards that should be used for police systems. It has identified ITIL as being the service management standard to adopt, and has therefore generated interest and support within the Police service.

Paul Lea, head of ICT service management, D&CC was able to convince the project board that the organisation should embed ITIL standards within the requirement. There was no formal business case to do so but the cause was helped by the ISS4PS endorsement.

"The focus of the contract re-negotiation, therefore, became how well we could develop ITIL processes and work with a partner who would develop at the same rate, so that we transformed our support offering," said Lea.

The stakes in terms of what D&CC planned to do increased in 2004 with the decision to extend the scope of outsourcing to the support of telephony and more recently Airwave radio services.

Lea said the project team initially struggled with describing the services it needed, so adopted the Society of Information Technology Management (SOCTIM) model of service descriptions and went to the market place saying: ‘there is no easy way to describe the total scope of our services, but if you can understand this model then this is what we want’.

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