Met expects to sign SIAM tower contract by early November
Force expects to unveil chosen supplier over the next month as part of TTPi plan; London Assembly raises questions over MPS' separate back office outsource strategy
The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) expects to award its Service Integration and Management (SIAM) tower contract by early next month as part of a series of tenders launched under its Total Technology Programme Infrastructure (TTPi) plan.
A spokesperson for MPS confirmed that its chosen SIAM supplier is expected to be unveiled following a contract signing either in late October or early next month. TTPi was established to implement a service tower operating model for the delivery of ICT Services across the MPS.
As part of efforts to divide the force's different technology needs into separate components under the TTPi plan, MPS last month also launched a tender valued at £240m for its network tower.
SIAM, a model that has been adopted by a number of government departments, covers the integration and management of services and components from different suppliers to provide an end-to-end solution that delivers greater choice and flexibility in designing a new IT system.
Along with the force's procurement plans for TTPi, MPS in August also gained approval to sign a back office support contract with Shared Services Connected Limited (SSCL). The organisation is a joint venture between Sopra Steria and the Cabinet Office.
The contract, for a maximum ten year term worth £216m, will see over 400 posts transfer to SSCL under Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 (TUPE) legislation.
From October 2016, services will transfer onto a new IT platform, with SSCL managing the new services from its facilities outside London. Although the cost of the contract over ten years is £216m, £52.9m of that is entry costs expected to be incurred in the first three years.
The award was last month scrutinised in a London Assembly Budget and Performance Committee report, which raised concerns over the MPS and the Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC) commercial and contracting strategy approach.
"While the commercial strategy is based on some sensible principles, we think that MOPAC and the Met have not followed a systematic approach," said the findings in response to the signing of the contract with SSCL to outsource back office functions in the form of seven strands.
"By the time MOPAC approved the strategy in July 2015, only one of the seven strands was not at an advanced stage. Given that the purpose of a commercial strategy is to help guide the Met to secure better deals from contractors in the future, we would have expected the new strategy to be finalised before the Met started to implement it."
The report expressed concern at the decision to move ahead with the MPS commercial strategy in the case of its SSCL deal without first fully finalising plans.
The assembly findings also called for MPS to explore alternative options including a reformed in-house service for back office functions that could include its technology and IT needs before deciding on any future contracts.
"There are other alternatives to outsourcing. Options include setting up joint ventures with another organisation to provide a service (as the Cabinet Office did with Sopra Steria in the SSCL arrangement) or sharing services with other police forces, public bodies or within the GLA Group - something the assembly has criticised the Met and other functional bodies for not exploring properly in the past," said the report.
Responding to the report, MPS said that in outsourcing services such as its IT, HR, procurement and finance needs, the force was now looking at all aspects of its policing to see where it might make further savings to address funding pressures.
"The report highlights a number of key findings which the MPS recognise. Several of the recommendations will require a more detailed assessment before they are agreed as the full extent of the options appraisal undertaken and the time taken by the Met to arrive at their decision is not fully reflected in the report," the force said.
"The report highlights the critical need to get all elements of the commercial life cycle right. The illumination provided will be valuable in further improving the commercial strategy and helping the Met meet the enormous challenge of the next Spending Review."