Edinburgh Council eyes digital public services with £186m CGI deal

City of Edinburgh Council hopes a 186 million contract with outsourcer CGI will deliver digital public services to thousands of citizens.

The Scottish capital expects to save 45 million over the course of the deal, spanning seven years, and CGI said it will create 200 new tech jobs and more than 60 apprenticeships as it takes on more staff to deliver changes encouraging the public to access services online.

Councillor Alasdair Rankin, convener of the council's finance and resources committee, said: "One of the exciting things CGI will do is to speed up our move to greater online capability giving residents and businesses greater flexibility to engage with the council and carry out their transactions digitally.

"This will make us a more efficient and effective organisation across our wide range of council services."

CGI plans to do this by upgrading the council's IT infrastructure and linking it to a new ERP system, which will also integrate with digital platforms that will be used by the public.

Doing this will enable cost reductions, the council and CGI claimed, while also improving the quality of council services, and public access to them.

A digital self-service platform will be underpinned by a "specialist local government platform", meaning multiple self-service council functions can integrate with the council's back office systems.

"This is an ambitious programme that will change the way citizens access and use public services and will introduce new ways of working for the council's employees, ultimately making their jobs more productive and satisfying," said Steve Thorn, senior VP of CGI UK's public sector division.

Schools will also get more modern IT infrastructure, including faster bandwidth speeds to offer better access to online learning tools, while the jobs CGI plans to create will cover a range of tech roles including IT, networking, digital and cybersecurity.

Edinburgh council has an option to extend the contract by five years initially, with further extension options following that period.