Swansea links up with Cardiff after Capgemini problems

Swansea council will use an IT system supplied by Cardiff council to underpin its new customer contact centre under a partnership agreement.

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Swansea council will use an IT system supplied by Cardiff council to underpin its new customer contact centre under a partnership agreement.

The tie-up between the two local authorities follows Swansea’s decision to axe the planned second phase of an e-government contract with Capgemini that was originally expected to cover contact centre services.

The deal – understood to be worth £1.3m – will see Cardiff host and manage the hardware and software for the Contact Swansea centre, which will be based on a specially tailored version of Cardiff’s own C2C system, while Swansea council staff will handle the calls.

Mary Jones, Swansea council cabinet member for top performance and e-government, said the Cardiff IT system was affordable, reliable and proven over the past five years.

Blaenau Gwent county council, Cardiff local health board and the South Wales Police Authority already use contact centre services provided by Cardiff council.

Swansea axed the planned second phase of its contract with Capgemini in January this year, saying the proposals were too expensive. It switched instead to an “incremental approach” to delivering the programme – with the Cardiff deal the first major result.

The council signed the 10-year £83m Capgemini contract at the start of 2006, after a prolonged dispute with the council employees’ union, Unison, that saw two months of strike action.

That deal covered phase one of the council’s programme, aimed at improving the efficiency of back office and support services. It included an option for a second phase, focusing on customer-facing services. Both phases together were expected to produce savings of £72m.

In April, a report by PricewaterhouseCoopers, the council’s auditor, criticised Swansea’s handling of the Capgemini contract. The council had not checked the credibility of Capgemini’s projected savings sufficiently rigorously, had transferred too little of the project’s risks to the suppliers and had failed to benchmark the project adequately, PwC said.

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