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Scottish police and Accenture terminate IT systems contract

Scottish Police Authority, Accenture and Police Scotland have mutually agreed to abandon the £40m contract for new operational policing system after project ran into problems

The Scottish Police Authority (SPA), Accenture and Police Scotland have agreed to end the troubled i6 project, which had aimed to replace a series of legacy IT systems.

Accenture won the £40m contract in 2013 to join up more than 100 legacy systems and deliver a new operational policing system as part of the SPA’s wider IT strategy.

The system, which aimed to enable users to manage, analyse and share operational and case information across Scotland, was originally due to go live in December 2015, but was delayed after a series of faults were found during testing. 

A review of the programme concluded that it would be impossible to deliver on time and on budget, the SPA said in a joint statement with Police Scotland.

The SPA, Police Scotland and Accenture have mutually agreed to end their contract relating to the i6 project. The decision comes following a detailed review of the programme, led by the SPA, which considered alternative options and was supported by Accenture. Despite the best efforts of the SPA, Police Scotland and Accenture, it was clear that the technical solution cannot be delivered within expected timeframes and budget,” the SPA said. “The decision has therefore been taken to end the contract and reconsider options for securing a sustainable IT solution for policing.

“The contract has been ended and a mutually agreed settlement has been signed by all parties. The terms of the agreement are commercially confidential, however we can confirm that the settlement results in no financial detriment to the police budget.

“While we are disappointed that i6 will not be delivered as expected, the SPA believes the decision to end the contract at this time is the right one.”

The project ran into problems last year, first with hardware problems that were quickly rectified. But in June 2015, when the system went into user-acceptance testing, several defects were found.

Police Scotland chief superintendent Hamish Macpherson told a Scottish justice sub-committee in February this year that, at one point, there were “12 critical errors in the system – errors that stop one progressing through the system”.

Read more about Scottish IT programmes

He added: “At that point, the supplier was struggling to get rid of the errors. As it fixed one, another error was produced.”

In September 2015, it became clear that the system would not meet its December go-live date.

Earlier this year, the SPA and Police Scotland entered commercial renegotiations with Accenture, but Police Scotland’s IT director, Martin Leven, told the justice sub-committee in February that he had “doubts about the capability” of Accenture to deliver.

“The contractor will need to prove to us as part of the negotiations that it is completely capable of delivering this, because it has very clearly let us down and put us in the situation that we are in,” he said at the time.

The cancelled i6 programme will now undergo an independent review to ensure that lessons are learned.

“This will inform our options for a sustainable IT solution going forward and which we would expect to see emerging in the months ahead,” the SPA said. “Work already under way to set out a vision and strategy for policing over the next decade will also heavily inform the next steps.”

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"When the system went into user-acceptance testing, several defects were found. [..] there were “12 critical errors in the system – errors that stop one progressing through the system”.

Finding showstopper bugs in UAT is indeed unusual. It's quite impossible to guess whether the testing process gone wrong there or results of testing were simply ignored.
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