The Welsh Assembly has awarded a 10-year, £200m IT services contract to Siemens Business Services.
The contract includes infrastructure overhauls of the Welsh Assembly’s systems and also support for the implementation of electronic voting in Assembly elections.
In 2002, the Welsh Assembly was slammed by the National Audit Office for the cost of its IT systems delivered through a PFI contract extended to the Assembly from the Welsh Office. These systems were provided and supported by Siemens Business Services.
The new contract sees Siemens Business Services overseeing separate IT projects delivered by PA Consulting Group, Cap Gemini Ernst & Young and Siemens Communications.
PA Consulting will lead the “business design and change programme”, Cap Gemini Ernst & Young will carry out selected application development projects, and Siemens Communications will deliver telecoms and video conferencing services.
A Cap Gemini Ernst & Young installed system at the Welsh Assembly for making subsidy payments to farmers was criticised by the National Audit Office in November 2003.
Payments totalling £50m due in October 2002 had not been paid six months later, according to the NAO. Problems included underestimating the amount of testing needed, faults with scanning technology, the creation of a new customer database and Welsh Assembly staff being unfamiliar with the systems.
This was compounded by problems in delivering the necessary training programme, the NAO report said.
John Bourn, head of the NAO, said that despite these problems, the payments system should help the assembly deliver improved services to Welsh farmers.