Council leader David Parker hailed this week’s announcement of the £92million digital services contract deal with Canadian firm CGI as a “landmark deal for the Scottish Borders”.
The 13-year contract – which will see CGI provide IT services to the council and create a ‘Scottish Centre of Excellence’ within the Borders – carries with it what is thought to be the most significant inward investment proposal ever for the region, one which it is hoped will inject £100million into the local economy.
Mr Parker said: “For CGI to choose the Scottish Borders to base their second UK Service Centre is a genuinely exciting opportunity. Not only does it mean our existing ICT staff will remain in the Borders, but it will also bring a wide range of benefits and opportunities.
“We have always maintained our ambition for a growing and prosperous economy here in the Borders, especially on the back of the Borders Railway opening, and I am confident this contract is just the start.”
He added: “Although we are very clear about the numbers of jobs we are talking about, we very much see this as the floor and not the ceiling.
“I fully expect that as we move forward, everything we are saying now will be surpassed.”
CGI – founded in 1976 and is now the fifth largest independent IT and business services firm in the world – opened its first UK delivery centre in Bridgend in South Wales, which now employs 1,500 people.
Tim Gregory, UK president of CGI, said: “I would very much like to see a similar situation here where we can build up our business to become one of the main employers here in the Borders.”
The agreement includes the following:
The creation of a delivery centre within the Borders, with 200 new jobs within three years – a potential gross value added of £107.1million.
The 49 remaining SBC ICT staff can remain in the Borders.
Modern apprenticeships to be created through Borders College and schools.
A new enterprise resource planning solution to replace current finance and HR systems.
Creation of a modern digital platform for residents to interact with the council.
Options to address some of the major connectivity challenges in the region, including the ‘unbundling’ of six exchanges (see story, top of page) to allow CGI to deliver a superfast broadband to schools, communities and businesses.