Botched police IT project failed due to ‘loss of trust’

AuditScotland finds that officers are still struggling with outdated systems. Picture: John Devlin
AuditScotland finds that officers are still struggling with outdated systems. Picture: John Devlin
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Police and staff continue to struggle with out-of-date and poorly integrated IT systems following the decision to scrap a £46 million computer project, according to a new report.

The i6 programme was cancelled last year after testing by Police Scotland revealed a series of problems.

A report published today by Audit Scotland said the project collapsed because of a loss of trust between Police Scotland and contractor Accenture, with disagreements between the two sides beginning “within weeks” of the contract being signed in June 2013.

It said Police Scotland had considered legal action against the contractor for breach of contract as early as October 2013, but both sides had agreed to resolve their differences and “avoid an expensive legal challenge in court, which could have had potential political and commercial consequences”.

The programme was terminated in July 2016 and the Scottish Police Authority agreed a £24.7m settlement from Accenture. This refunded the £11.1m in payments to date as well as a £13.6m settlement.

The report said the failure of the project meant officers and staff continued to struggle with “out-of-date, inefficient and poorly integrated systems”, adding there was an “urgent need” now to develop a “much-needed” IT system.

Martin Leven, director of ICT at Police Scotland, said: “i6 was an important element of Police Scotland’s ICT plans but not the sole element. Since 2013, more than 30 national applications have been implemented successfully.

“Real progress has been made towards the delivery of a new national network and standardised modern national desktop computers.”

Accenture said: “As the report acknowledges, the scope and the complexity of the solution for i6 increased significantly during the project. This was driven by the client.

“There were challenges and issues on both sides, but we worked closely with Police Scotland to review the programme and recommend revised plans to successfully deliver i6.

“Despite our best efforts, it was not possible to agree the necessary changes and we mutually agreed to end the project.”