City of Edinburgh Council has signed a seven-year IT outsourcing contract with CGI in a bid to transform council services.
The £186m contract will see CGI update the council’s IT systems and support its “channel shift” programme, which aims to introduce integrated digital services across the local authority.
In 2001, the council signed a 10-year deal with BT for outsourced IT services. The contract was then extended for five more years, but will expire in March 2016.
Claudette Jones, the council’s chief information officer, told Computer Weekly that the first point on the IT agenda is to improve broadband speeds in schools. This includes introducing 1GB of bandwidth for high schools and installing 4,000 Wi-Fi points across the city’s schools.
“We are investing a lot in infrastructure for schools,” Jones said. “The work to get the schools’ networks improved will start in advance of our BT contract ending, so by next summer, the schools should be upgraded.”
CGI will also update IT systems across Edinburgh council and put in place a new enterprise resource planning system, which will integrate with “citizen-facing digital platforms”.
Forty of the council’s transaction services are already online, and Jones said a further 150 will go online “within the year”.
Alasdair Rankin, convener of the City of Edinburgh Council’s finance and resources committee, told Computer Weekly that another crucial part of the contract is to include small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in CGI’s supply chain.
A council report published earlier this month said the project would contain a commitment by CGI to deliver 25% or more of the contract value to SMEs by 2018.
“SMEs are an important part of the contract,” said Rankin. “We have a lot of SMEs in Edinburgh and we are keen to support the local economy and businesses.”
Other projects include introducing Office365 for council staff and school pupils, introducing a document management system where staff can access their documents from any secure device, and introducing new collaboration tools.
CGI’s UK public sector SVP, Steve Thorn, said: “This is an ambitious programme that will change the way citizens access and use public services and will introduce new ways of working for the council’s employees, ultimately making their jobs more productive and satisfying.”