London boroughs seek IT services worth up to £1.2bn

A framework contract to provide shared IT services to London boroughs could be worth up to £1.2 billion, according to a tender document published this week.

The framework forms part of Programme Athena, an initiative to unify IT and procurement systems across all London boroughs. Due for completion in 2016, the programme is designed to reduce operating costs, improve access to data and standardise business processes across the boroughs.

The total contract value could be anywhere between £800,000 and £1.2 billion over four years, as the councils will retain the right to chose which services they use.

The framework consists of four ‘lots’: finance, HR and payroll systems worth up to £1.05 billion; procurement systems worth up to £35 million; property asset data management worth up to £35 million; and business intelligence, worth up to £70 million.

"The aim is to appoint one successful service provider to each of the identified lots," the tender reveals. "However the same service provider could, if successful on each lot, be appointed to provide two, three or all four lots."

It also states that contracts are only available to suppliers with annual turnover that is three times the minimum estimated value of each lot.

Tracie Evans, a project leader on Programme Athena, told Information Age that another component of the scheme is to build single instances of Oracle, SAP, Agresso and finance software Cedar across the boroughs. Evans said that  procurement of the single instance of Oracle has already closed and that the SAP procurement is currently in progress.

"When there’s one instance, you have to have standardised processes," she explained. "We’re having vanilla systems and we’re not bespoking anything – so it’s cheaper to implement. We’re not paying big consultancy costs."

A presentation given by Croydon Council last year revealed the diversity of IT systems in use across the capital. There are nine different accounts payable systems and ten different accounts receivable applications, it shows, with Oracle being the most common in both cases. There are nine different HR systems, with Northgate the most popular.

Beatrice Bartlay

Beatrice Bartlay founded 2B Interface, a temporary and permanent staffing agency in 2005 and has since been serving the UK recruitment sector with specialised services. With more than ten years’ experience...

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