British police (and other government departments) saves £250k with aggregate IT purchases
Wed 25 Jan 2017
The UK’s Crown Commercial Procurement Service has made a saving of £250,000 on new IT hardware for the British police force – as well as fire and rescue services, an ambulance trust and a segment of the Home Office’s IT allocation – by using aggregate, market-driven commercial purchasing policies.
The CCS competition was facilitated via e-auction, and aimed to make savings on a minimum pre-auction value of £5.3 million, and achieved cost reduction of 4.52% across all product lines – which took in 7,677 laptop, monitor, desktop, hybrid and tablet devices, rising to a total of 13,043 when considering accessories.
The specifications for the competition was derived from the specifications mandated by the National Police Technology Council.
Chief constable Andy Marsh commented:
“It should not be forgotten that this market approach offers significant non cashable benefits such as the promotion of standardisation and the interoperability across the service and sends a very strong collaborative message to the market concerning police procurement now and for the future.”
The auction does not explicitly mention software licensing, though in the case of laptops and desktops, this seems likely to have specific provisioning for operating systems at least. In August of 2016 it was revealed that London’s Metropolitan Police was still running 27,000 computers on the outdated Windows XP operating system in the wake of Microsoft ceasing to support XP from early 2014.
Though the police is the least likely of all government departments to be forthcoming about its internal IT infrastructure, operating system lag in UK government department has been heavily influenced by the need to continue to use bespoke IT systems which are often difficult to upgrade, or which may require complete substitution under more recent OS versions.
The Met has unusual woes to contend with in the face of government freezes and budgetary cutbacks over the last six years of austerity. In late 2014 the Met’s Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe expounded on the difficulties of tackling a 54% rise in cybercrime – with a newly-minted cyber crime unit – in the face of a 20 per cent budget cut.