Council bosses hoping to extend £92m IT deal

Members of Scottish Borders Council are to vote later this month on extending the £92m IT services contract the authority has with CGI until 2040 at the cost of an extra £30m.

Council leader David Parker and CGI's UK president Tim Gregory secure the original deal in 2016.
Council leader David Parker and CGI's UK president Tim Gregory secure the original deal in 2016.

The council sealed a 13-year £92m deal with the Canadian technology giant in 2016.

That deal, due to end in 2029, has the contractual option of a six-year extension, which the council intends to exercise, but elected members will be asked to extend it by a further five years “to take advantage of long-term transformative opportunities and technologies to deliver the best possible outcomes for the Scottish Borders”.

In total, the deal with CGI has an expected overall spend of £179m.

The importance of a good IT system has been shown over the last few months, with most council staff, and all the region’s schoolchildren having to work and study from home during the Covid-19 lockdown.

While councillors are expected to approve the deal, details of the contract proposals have been posted online on the Public Contracts Scotland website in the form of a voluntary ex ante transparency notice.

In the procurement description, it states: “The council recognises the adverse effect of the current pandemic on the economy and the resulting uncertainty for the longer term.

“This proposal will minimise the effect of this on both employees and the community by providing security in relation to ongoing services and delivering transformation opportunities through long term investment in the Digital Borders programme.”

A spokesperson for the council said: “The council is proposing to extend the contract with its strategic IT partner CGI.

“The partnership was originally forged in 2016 as part of a 13-year contract due to run until 2029.

“However, the council has agreed in principle to extend this to 2040.

“By agreeing an extension at this time, the council would benefit financially and we would be able to further our Fit for 2024 transformation programme to ensure we are in the best shape to meet future challenges, take advantage of new opportunities and deliver the best possible outcomes for Borders communities.

“The contract extension would allow CGI to support the council to make sure we are fit to deal with the many challenges we face in a constantly changing digital world.

“It would also enable the Borders region to benefit from the advancement of digitally connected communities to support improved outcomes in areas such as health, social care and advancing our already world-leading education IT programmes.

“Our new programmes will also create benefits that will support better working experiences and improved efficiencies for the council.

“The council and CGI have a proven track record of working together successfully over the last four years.

“A prime example of this is our world-leading Inspire Learning programme that has provided all Borders school pupils in P5 to S6 with iPads and internet connectivity to enhance their learning both in the classroom and at home.

“CGI has been integral to the council’s operations during the CovidD-19 outbreak by ensuring thousands of staff who are having to work from home are doing so as effectively as possible.

“They have also played a crucial role in the recovery from other emergency incidents, most notably the major fire at Peebles High School last year.

“The detailed business case for the extension of the CGI contract will be presented to elected members at the full council meeting on Friday, September 25, to enable a final decision to be made.”