Edinburgh prepares to exit 15 year-BT partnership with new £2bn contract

The City of Edinburgh Council has revealed plans to exit its current outsourcing arrangement with BT and find a new service provider for all of its IT requirements, in a deal that could be worth up to £2 billion.

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The City of Edinburgh Council has revealed plans to exit its current outsourcing arrangement with BT and find a new service provider for all of its IT requirements, in a deal that could be worth up to £2 billion.

BT has been Edinburgh’s main IT services partner since 2001. In a report recommending a an extension of the contract, the council described the relationship as “challenging”, with complaints that BT wasn’t responsive enough and didn’t focus on service outcomes. However the council went along with the recommendation to stay with BT until 2016 after the company achieved an 88% success rate in meeting a range of improvement targets.

The contract with BT is due to expire at the end of March in 2016.

While the council said that services, requirements and costs have altered over the years, it said in a recent report that: “There are challenges to the existing provision and we are looking for a more effective solution, to deliver improved services with infrastructure support to match our service needs.”

Edinburgh is now seeking a new ICT service provider that can “adjust to the City of Edinburgh Council’s developing requirements over time” and can “develop innovative solutions to its requirement” that offer financial savings.

The council has also said that the volume of services it requires, the method by which those services are delivered and the specific types of services to be delivered may change over the lifetime of the contract.

The contract could last up to 19 years, but Edinburgh is considering an initial seven-year term with options to renew.

An online contract notice states: “The City of Edinburgh Council is expressly looking for a solution to its ICT service provision which is sufficiently flexible and scalable so as to provide a long-term resolution that offers significant future-proofing.”

The chosen service provider may also have the opportunity to provide ICT services to a number of other contracting authorities in the area, including the Scottish Police Authority, a number of NHS Trusts and some local councils.

Edinburgh expects that it will require desktops and devices, wide area networks, local area networks, platforms, data networks, data centres, service design and transition, service desk, applications and security.

BT said in a statement: “The reference to the report in the ComputerworldUK story is misleading – this report was published by the City of Edinburgh Council in 2006 in order for the authority to approve a five year contract extension with BT.

"We have had a great relationship with the council for the last 13 years with two more to go, taking the ICT partnership and the contract to their natural conclusion on 31st March 2016. As with any complex long-term partnership there will always be a need to modify, grow and adapt to the changing needs of both parties, this is the natural lifecycle of these types of contract.

"The very fact that we have succeeded in seeing out the full-term of the contract is a tribute to both parties’ commitment to its success.” 

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