BT welcomes initial findings in network contract battle with NHS Scotland

BT, which is suing NHS Scotland after losing in its bid for a £110 million Scottish Wide Area Network (SWAN) framework, has welcomed the initial findings from ongoing court proceedings.

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BT, which is suing NHS Scotland after losing in its bid for a £110 million Scottish Wide Area Network (SWAN) framework, has welcomed the initial findings from ongoing court proceedings.

The telecoms giant has taken NHS Scotland to court over what it claims has been a “flawed” tender process for a six-year contract that would have enabled councils and NHS bodies in Scotland to share information more easily.

The procurement body NHS National Services Scotland went to court on 24 January to try and stop BT’s legal action, as the body cannot award the contract to the preferred bidder - understood to be a partnership of Capita and Updata - until the case is resolved. However, it has been continued to next week, when a judgement is expected to be given.

Both parties in the legal matter declined to comment on the proceedings, but BT said: “Lord Malcolm has given some initial findings, which we welcome, and the case has been continued to 3 February,” a BT spokesperson said.

Meanwhile, NSS reiterated its commitment to SWAN.

“SWAN is a good deal for Scotland. It is a major step forward in Scottish public sector infrastructure which will create savings and deliver a better service.

"Despite this on-going challenge BT remains a major provider of services to the public sector in Scotland and continues to be a valued partner."

BT began the legal action before the preferred bidder was announced. Cable & Wireless with Virgin Media Business were also in the running for the contract.

With its legal action, BT is looking for a rerun of the tender process, or for £20 million in damages. It argued that the tender process did not ensure that the contract was awarded on the basis of the most economically advantageous bid, in accordance with regulations.

Meanwhile, NSS maintains that the process was “fair, robust and thorough”.

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