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The Home Office has selected IT services supplier CGI as the “strategic delivery partner” for its ongoing digital transformation plans, awarding it a five-year contract worth £95m.
As strategic delivery partner, CGI will work closely with the Home Office’s Police & Public Protection Technology (PPPT) section, which is responsible for the design, build and deployment of national law enforcement systems in the UK.
The PPPT team’s work is structured into a number of portfolios designed to deliver capabilities at a national scale and includes, for example, the Child Abuse Image Database (CAID), the National ANPR (Automatice Number Plate Recognition) Service (NAS) and the National Law Enforcement Data Programme (NLEDP).
It is also responsible for running and maintaining the digital infrastructure of UK policing, which includes the Police National Computer (PNC), the Police National Database (PND) and firearms databases, among others.
In December 2021, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) published a report that showed the Home Office had failed to make progress on its plans to replace the “obsolete” PNC and PND systems, the functions of which were supposed to be combined under the NLEDP.
Announced in 2016, this was intended to be delivered in 2020, but the PAC report said the replacement is now not due until at least 2025-26.
Under its five-year contract, which started on 21 June 2022, GCI will support the PPPT team in delivering the Home Office’s digital transformation agenda, which centres around modernising and linking a variety of systems and databases used by UK law enforcement.
This will involve CGI creating an open and evolving value chain ecosystem of partners, including the likes of NTT DATA, Principle One and Infoshare, as well as other small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and law enforcement specialists.
In response to questions about its specific priorities going forward, and whether, for example, there are particular systems or databases it will focus on, CGI told Computer Weekly that it would work closely with the Home Office and its portfolio leads to “prioritise key work packages in the first few months”.
CGI has also made commitments to promote social value throughout the contract’s lifetime. A spokesperson told Computer Weekly that the company has appointed a full-time social value lead who will be accountable for these social value commitments, which include: CGI’s continued investment in Employee Supported Policing; access to Pawprint for all 3,700-plus Home Office Digital, Data and Technology (DDaT) staff; an app to measure, understand and reduce personal carbon impact; and supporting SMEs by prioritising work allocated to them, which will represent 30% of the contract value.
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“We are committed to improving public safety and we will work closely with the Home Office to support their digital transformation,” said Tara McGeehan, president of CGI UK and Australia. “This will mean we can continue to make our society a safer place to live. Technology is undeniably one of the most important tools to improve and reinforce our vital services to government.”
David Filmer, senior vice-president of consulting services and UK public safety at CGI, added: “This new contract will see us work with the Home Office’s Police and Public Protection Technology team in a truly transformational way.
“It will provide a more consistent modern delivery model while ensuring their existing supplier relationships can thrive in a collaborative ecosystem. Our new role as strategic delivery partner puts us at the heart of the Home Office, allowing us to have a greater and more meaningful impact in support of keeping citizens safe and the country secure.”
The Home Office’s digital transformation agenda is set out in its Digital, Data and Technology Strategy, which was published in July 2021 and details how the organisation intends to “deliver better services and organise our technology and data estate more efficiently” over the three years until 2024.
According to the strategy, the Home Office will look at products or systems that are originally unrelated to see whether they can be joined to serve the same or a similar purpose, which will, in turn, ensure that “systems, platforms and frameworks are brought together to avoid duplication”, as well as “bringing together technologies to meet new challenges”.
In the strategy’s foreword, Home Office chief digital, data and technology officer Simon Bourne said that during the Covid-19 pandemic, staff at the department “often had to work harder because they were wrestling with legacy systems and unintuitive processes”.
He added: “We must now become digital by design in everything that we do and change the way we operate. This means embracing automation and investing in our cyber capabilities while also becoming more efficient, user-centric and adaptable to changing conditions.
“We must have a renewed focus on data, making it central to how we strategically and operationally manage the department.”