News

BT sues NHS Scotland for £20m over SWAN project

Jennifer Scott

BT is suing NHS National Services Scotland (NSS) after failing to win a court case for the procurement of the Scottish Wide Area Network (SWAN) project to be re-run.

SWAN is a government scheme, led by the NHS, to create a shared network for all public sector organisations across the country, and save costs and improve performance.

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The telecoms giant bid for the £110m contract back in October 2012 and was shortlisted alongside joint bids from Cable & Wireless with Virgin Media Business, and Capita together with Updata Infrastructure.

However, once a preferred bidder was selected – understood to be Capita and Updata – BT made a formal complaint to the Court of Session claiming the tender process had not been based on getting the most economically viable bid and embarked on a court case to try and get the process re-run.

Lord Malcolm ruled on Friday in favour of the NSS, allowing the organisation to continue with the project, which had already been delayed by three months due to the litigation. But BT wanted to appeal the decision and a further hearing date of 11 February 2014 was set, putting commencement of SWAN back even further.

Today, however, it came to light that BT was set to sue the NSS for £20m.

“Though BT’s primary aim was always to seek a re-run of the procurement process, the case will now proceed as a damages claim, Lord Malcolm having found damages to be an appropriate remedy,” said a spokeswoman from BT.

“We believe that it will now be unclear whether the most economically advantageous tender will be awarded. We believe our proposal offered excellent value and minimal risk to Scottish tax payers. Our bid was more than £10m below the price for which maximum points could be awarded under the NSS scoring process.”

We contacted the NSS for comment but we had not received a response at the time of publication.


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