Police Scotland claim Accenture have 'very clearly let us down' on flagship i6 project
Holyrood's justice sub-committee on policing told up to three-month wait likely until new rollout date is set
Police Scotland has raised serious doubts over the ability of multinational technology firm Accenture to deliver its flagship ICT project amid claims the supplier have “very clearly let us down”.
The i6 programme, which will replace more than 100 legacy force systems, had been expected to go live last December only to be delayed after multiple faults were found.
ICT director Martin Leven yesterday rubbished reports suggesting police were preparing to pull the plug on i6, though a date for rollout has yet to be set.
“I have doubts as to the capability of the contractor to deliver this going forward,” he told Holyrood’s justice sub-committee on policing.
“The contractor will need to prove to us, as part of these negotiations, that they are completely capable of delivering this because they have very clearly let us down.”
Leven claimed the contract award followed “one of the most thorough procurement processes ever” and the process had been managed “as well as it possibly can be”.
The system was made available to Police Scotland last June for user acceptance testing. i6 programme director, Chief Superintendent Hamish MacPherson, told MSPs the number of defects was found to be “significantly higher than what we wanted” at this stage.
“At one point in time we ended up with 12 critical errors in the system, which actually stops you progressing through the system, and there should have been none at that time,” he added.
Police Scotland identified 76 defects of varying severity “which tends to suggest it required more testing within their phases”, MacPherson told the sub-committee.
An initial plan of action put forward by the supplier to remedy the problems asked for additional finance and failed to suit the single service in terms of timescales, MacPherson said, prompting a summit between Police Scotland, the Scottish Police Authority, Scottish Government and Accenture which took place last week.
“We are having contractual discussions with the supplier,” he told MSPs. “We are not at the lawyer stage, I would say. On the table is a potential way forward. We just have to work out detail of that way forward, which we think will take about eight to 12 weeks to get through."
Leven told the sub-committee it was his “honest opinion... that the senior managers in Accenture, the ones that we face up against, probably were not aware of the issues until such time as we highlighted them to them”.
He said: “It is a possibility that they could retrieve our confidence depending on what they come back with. Certainly, I would imagine as part of any negotiation going forward there would be a change in certain personnel that have been involved in the project from the supplier end that would be coming forward.
“And if they can produce a robust plan, we would look at it. But again I would emphasise that a robust plan was produced the first time round.”
An Accenture spokesman said: “This is a very complex project. The complexity of the solution, which has been driven by the client, has increased significantly over the last two years.
“There have been issues on both sides, but we have worked closely with Police Scotland to conduct a detailed review of the programme and have recommended revised plans. We are working with the client and the SPA to agree a way forward.”
Sub-committee convener, SNP MSP Christine Grahame, said: “Crumbs, I wouldn’t let them fix my pipes and radiators at this rate. They would tell me that they were alright and they would still have leaks.”
Police Scotland confirmed a “without prejudice period” is currently in operation, limiting the amount of information that could be shared on costs involved in dropping the supplier.
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