Sopra Steria awarded transitional two year probation ICT services deal
Ministry extends existing relationship with Sopra Steria with contract to support technology needs of probation services in England and Wales as it looks to move to common MoJ ICT infrastructure
The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) has awarded a two year outsourcing contract to Sopra Steria that will provide the probation service with ICT functions and support ahead of a delayed move to a ministry-wide common technology infrastructure.
As part of the outsourcing agreement, which is valued at up to £53.8m depending on how long it is required, the company will provide IT services including auditing, testing, programming and consultancy for hardware and software among a number of other functions.
The scope of the contract will relate to supporting probation services in England and Wales before they transition to the common ICT infrastructure intended to be introduced by the MoJ. However, an exact timeline for the proposed switchover has not been provided at present.
“The intention is for some, if not all, of the services to end before the expiry of the term; in which case, the actual cost of this contract may be lower that the estimated amount,” said the contract award notice.
In January, the MoJ awarded Sopra Steria a limited contract extension of up to 12 months in length to provide the probation services with Offender Management National Infrastructure (OMNI) systems as a result of delays to the availability of the ministry’s common ICT infrastructure.
OMNI, like the rest of MoJ's ICT estate, was due to be replaced by a combination of contracts under the broad Future IT sourcing (FITS) programme.
By February, a review of FITS saw the MoJ announcing an intention to opt against awarding the second lot of an Application Maintenance & Support (AMS) services contract for the Prisons and Probation Service.
"Following a review of the Future IT Sourcing (FITS) programme, we have decided not to proceed in awarding this contract,” a spokesperson for the MoJ confirmed at the time.
In the intervening months, both the National Audit Office and Public Accounts Committee (PAC) have raised concerns about the effectiveness of IT use and planning with regard to the probation service.
The spending watchdog warned in September that poor ICT systems were hampering MoJ efforts to transform probation services, urging a need for particular improvement of case management systems.
PAC chair Meg Hillier also raised concerns that the MoJ had been overambitious with planned reforms to rehabilitation services as well as the courts and prison systems.
“Reintegrating offenders with the community is vitally important yet the quality of arrangements to support this is patchy. There is also a continued failure to provide hard-pressed probation staff with adequate computer systems. None of this paints a picture of probation working effectively towards the goal of reduced reoffending."