Hundreds of millions of dollars is up for grabs as the Victoria Police approaches the market to outsource the ICT needs of its 16,000 strong organisation.
For the winner of the deal, however, delivery on the contract will be every bit as challenging as it is lucrative, and will place the supplier at the heart of the agency’s efforts to close the book on a deeply troubled ICT history.
Within the scope of the new contract are two critical Police applications that featured in the Victorian Ombudsman’s scathing 2011 profile of failing ICT projects in the State, the Law Enforcement Assistance Program (LEAP) and the HR Assist.
The replacement of the central LEAP database, which has been in operation since 1 March 1993, was suspended in June 2011 after the agency discovered that $187 million would be needed to complete it. It was originally budgeted at $59.5 million. Victoria Police did make it to the finish line for HR Assist, albeit at a cost more than double its original budget of $18.4 million.
A request for Expressions of Interest (EOI) released yesterday reveals that Victoria Police plans to bundle its five existing ICT outsourcing contracts into a single end-to-end arrangement with a single supplier or at the very least a single accountable party heading a consortium.
The combined value of all five contracts over the past nine years is more than $340 million, according to records on Victoria’s contracts publishing website. However the scope of the new deal will be “slightly increased” from the current arrangements, according to EOI documents.
The existing deals are currently split between IBM and Fujitsu:
- Tower 1 – Mainframe and Unix Servers – provided by IBM for $82.1 million over nine years (18 February 2006 to 30 Jun 2015);
- Tower 2 – Desktop, Networking and Service Desk – signed with IBM for an original value of $65.69 million (details not available);
- Tower 3 - Applications Development, Support and Maintenance – provided by Fujitsu for $126.5 million over nine years (18 February 2006 to 30 Jun 2015);
- Tower 4 - IT Asset Procurement Services – provided by a panel made up of Fujitsu, HP and Power Parameters and worth $36.2 million over nine years (18 February 2006 to 30 Jun 2015); and
- A data centre and remote disaster recovery contract (named B5 after the building in which the facility was to be constructed) with Fujitsu worth $30.4 million.
These deals too have weathered more than their fair share of scrutiny and criticism. Issues with the tender process for the bundle featured in high-profile investigation by the State’s Ombudsman. The findings ultimately resulted in the resignation of Chief Information Officer Valda Berzins and Group Manager of Business and Planning John Brown.
But in a solid indication that some of the sloppy procurement culture of the past is well and truly behind the agency, it has given itself ample lead time to complete this complex procurement, with contracts not due to commence until 1 July 2015. It has also signed a $4.5 million deal with PriceWaterhouseCoopers to guide it through the process.
Victoria Police is also looking to enter into an outcomes based service agreement with its selected supplier, meaning that it isn’t particularly concerned how the supplier meets its needs, just as long as they are met.
“As an example, for a printing service you would specify only the nature of the printing such as the volume, colour and availability of the service. The specification would not cover the solution, for example how many printers would be required, their make or model,” documents explain.
It hopes that this approach will cut down on the resources required managing supplier and contracts, allowing the Police to focus on its core responsibility – combating a rising crime rate.
However the Police are not shy in their emphasis of the critical nature of their systems and processes, and how important it is that they are always up and running.
“The data Victoria Police deals with is often highly sensitive and critical to life and death situations. This means that security, including staff checks, is crucial and that the impact of downtime of critical systems can be disastrous,” it says.
Victoria Police will hold a briefing on the procurement process for industry members on 7 August 2013.
For more information, please contact the Editor (02) 9955 9896.