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Councils tout £1.2bn for IT whizkid to grab their backend

Outsourced IT includes crim record checks and payroll

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A one-billion-pound contract is up for grabs as three London councils hunt for IT hotshots to streamline their back-office systems - handling everything from criminal record checks and financial accounts to the payroll and psychometric testing.

Westminster Council is spearheading the search for an IT provider that will service its needs and those of Kensington & Chelsea and Hammersmith & Fulham councils. A further 17 local authorities, including Islington, Camden and Hackney, have signed up to use the procurement process.

The job, which could be worth up to £1.2bn, was advertised last week in the Official Journal of the European Union, and Westminster expects to have chosen a provider by the end of 2012.

The councils are seeking to make big spending cuts by outsourcing a slew of their backend admin services. Under the new contract the external provider would perform everything from Criminal Record Bureau checks to HR and sorting out staff wages. Simple tasks, such as help desks and document scanning, would be outsourced too.

The work will be advertised in four separate lots: HR and finance; e-sourcing; property asset data management; and business intelligence. The framework will last for four years and the contract, once procured, will last for five years with an option for a three-year extension. Back in June, Westminster CIO David Wilde explained that the separate lots would not necessarily all go to the same provider.

The business intelligence lot involves storing, crunching and manipulating council data. E-sourcing seems to involve the management of council websites and online help services.

Currently London councils use a patchwork of services - both in-house and external - to maintain their IT and admin work: under the new move, codenamed Programme Athena, the bevy of 20 councils hope to save money by rationalising their services and creating a London-wide ICT framework. ®

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