London university offers contract to “outsource” IT services

The university put out document tendering a contract worth £74 million over five years, according to the Exaro News website, which involves covering “information systems and services, providing IT infrastructure and day-to-day support to staff and students".

The educational institution is in talks with Wipro, BT Global Services and Capita, who are on the university's shortlist to provide the services.

A spokesman for the university told Information Age that the it did not put out the tender to find an outsourcing partner, but instead was looking for a business partner to help it examine existing business processes and explore options for a shared service.


The spokesman said: “We would share services with other education providers, but it's not outsourcing as in setting up or being taken over by a private company – a shared service would be 100% owned by London Met in the initial stages.

“There would be the option for other education providers that we're working with to get onboard the shared service too, but it would be set up as a London Met company and they would work under the university, although it's possible that they might be able to get a stake in it eventually,” they said.

There is some conflict between the university's vice-chancellor and chief executive Malcolm Gilles and Steve Jeffrys, an academic at the university, over whether the plans can be interpreted as outsourcing.

Writing in the Times Higher Education, Gilles said: "Working with external operators, London Met wants to go further: to realise a model of new-era shared services that other institutions may want to adopt or join." However, Exaro News reports that Jeffrys is preparing to publish an article by the Working Lives research Institute, which is based at the university.

“The logic for the inclusion of 'outsourcing' as a 'shared service' is based on the rather obtuse stretching of the word 'shared to mean any service that a private company delivers to move then one customer,” Jeffrys wrote. “Hence, T-Mobile or BT could be described as providing a 'shared service' to millions of customers.”

The university will confirm the winner of the contract later this month.

Ed Reeves

Ed Reeves co-founded Moneypenny with his sister Rachel Clacher in 2000. The company handles more than 9 million calls a year for 7,000 UK businesses and employs almost 400 members of staff. Reeves remains...

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