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ICO Chucks Capita Out Of Bed, Looks For IT Services Six-Way

Tom Brewster is TechWeek Europe's Security Correspondent. He has also been named BT Information Security Journalist of the Year in 2012 and 2013.

ICO’s Christopher Graham wants to drive efficiency by splitting one contract into six

UK privacy watchdog the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) is planning a major IT services shake-up and a big contract with Capita is set to be one of first casualties, TechWeekEurope understands.

In April last year, information commissioner Christopher Graham said he wanted to spend around 20 percent of the ICO’s £15 million budget on IT. Now he will be looking to drive efficiency by ditching the IT services deal with Capita, one of the government’s traditional favourite suppliers.

Its 2013-2016 strategy document released yesterday revealed the ICO wanted a “reduction in the cost of providing IT” by September 2014.

Six in the IT services bed

The ICO will be moving from a single IT services contract, which Capita currently holds, to six smaller contracts, which “we believe will offer commercial benefits”, a spokesperson said.

“In line with Cabinet Office procedure, we shortlisted and selected a preferred supplier from a government framework for each of the two main contracts,” they added.

“We are now going through a due diligence process and finalising the terms and conditions, with a view to making a formal announcement of the supplier for each of the contracts later this month.”

The ICO could not say whether Capita was bidding for one of the six smaller contracts. Capita told TechWeekEurope it had nothing more to add on top of what the ICO said.

Meanwhile, the ICO is also overhauling its registration software, as it hopes to have 90 percent of transactions done online by March 2014. It is currently working with Microsoft and others on the new system.

“The software is being developed using Microsoft dynamic software, which is being configured to fit our needs in-house with the assistance of a small number of CRM (Customer Relationship Management)  specialists,” the ICO spokesperson added.

“We are following the Agile methodology and will launch the basic system in our new financial year, with additional self-service functionality through the web coming later in the year.”

The ICO is also exploring how it might use the G-Cloud more. It only runs one service from the G-Cloud – file-sharing over the SkyDox platform – but is “actively looking at a number of other services”.

The privacy watchdog has a busy year ahead, as it draws together a code of conduct for the press on data protection, as demanded by the Leveson Report, and it continues to keep a close eye on security failures.

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