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Police authority loves Sprint ii buying regime

Too expensive? Did we say that?

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West Midlands Police Authority (WMPA) has retracted claims that the Sprint ii procurement agreement was more expensive than other options.

The controversial single-supplier pan-public sector agreement has been much maligned since police forces in England and Wales were mandated to use it from March.

WMPA also questioned projected cost savings, as exclusively revealed by El Reg. Northants Police was another prominent critic of the framework.

In its 2010/11 Annual Procurement Report, WMPA stated that buying kit via SCC, the huge reseller firm, and Sprint ii was 13 per cent more expensive on average than other routes, and that it wanted to bypass the framework.

However, Jackie Courtney, chief executive at WMPA claimed this week that she has "made a delegated urgent decision" to retract those comments.

"West Midlands Police Authority has been made aware that the statements relating to Sprint II and Specialist Computer Centres plc ... as presented to Finance and Resources Committee on 21 July 2011 are incorrect and were included by the report author in error.

"West Midlands Police has therefore advised the Authority that the two paragraphs should be retracted from the report. The Authority has accepted this request," she added.

The Home Office cast doubts over the future of Sprint ii last month when it revealed plans to form a police ICT company to combine the forces' procurement power, admitting it will review the framework next Spring.

The sudden reversal on the claims made in the Annual Report would suggest that the National Policing Improvement Agency came down heavily on its author for daring to publicly criticise Sprint ii, a cynic might say.

In a statement sent to El Reg, an SCC spokeswoman said: “SCC welcomes the full retraction by West Midlands Police Authority and will continue to work with the NPIA to deliver significant cashable and efficient savings for Forces.”

SCC is headquartered in Birmingham in the West Midlands and describes itself as Europe's biggest independent IT group. The company operates in six European countries and is the UK's second biggest IT reseller, after Computacenter.

WMPA representatives were unavailable for comment at the time of publication. ®

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