Confirming Value for Money for Police ICT Services

“ImprovIT had to work to very tight timescales, and they did this well and produced quality results.”


Devon and Cornwall Police (DCP), which covers the largest geographical police area in England, has just completed a series of 3 annual Market Tests to determine if their IT Services, delivered by BT, provide ‘Value for Money’ (VFM) to DCP in terms of charges and service quality. These reviews were conducted by specialist measurement company ImprovIT, working with CIPFA.

DCP faces challenges to respond to a vast rural and coastal area, which increases by 10 Million visitors over the summer months. This creates a huge demand on their services both in traditional crime on the beat and around the new areas of cyber-crime. With changes in society the young and old are a new focus for crime, DCP are looking to technology as the enabler – the “digital beat” to keep vulnerable people safe and bring offenders to justice.

As a result they have contracted with BT for the provision of a set of managed ICT services. The contract’s aim is to enhance the 24 hour support given to IT systems, to deliver a more robust support to policing and realise significant savings from service costs that will be reinvested to improve services to the public. BT was awarded the contract in 2015.

The Challenge

BT and DCP have procured ImprovIT to provide an annual Market Test of the prices and service levels delivered by BT, to ensure that the delivery of key services represents VFM to DCP over the next three years.

In commissioning the study, BT and DCP were very specific in their requirements and were working to a tight deadline.  The CTO at DCP, says: “ImprovIT had to work to very tight timescales, and they did this well and produced quality results.”

ImprovIT defines that VFM is achieved where the charge for the IT services in scope is equal to or below the peer group and service quality is equal to or higher than the same peers.

Five Key Service Areas

ImprovIT were appointed to undertake a review of five key service areas (workstation, which changed to service desk in final year, email, virtual machines, storage and day rates for core development). This analysis reviewed scope, prices and quality of the services provided, taking into account key factors of service complexity and quality.

“ImprovIT put a lot of effort in,” says the Head of Service Management at BT Cornwall. “We are very happy and the customer is very pleased too. They did a great job.”

The Market Test approach is a shorter version of a traditional VFM benchmark, saving time and money, but still providing an accurate result. ImprovIT utilised its ‘Metrics Driven Analysis’ (MDA) methodology, enabling a granular and holistic view of the services, performance and prices, to execute the study, which was completed in less than four weeks.

The Market Test approach – Achieving Apples-to-Apples Accuracy

This method is similar to other Market Test engagements undertaken by ImprovIT, and required them to work closely with the BT team to understand all the relevant details and factors driving pricing and performance of the services.

The services BT provides to DCP were matched to peers, based upon the data provided under the ImprovIT performance areas of volumes, complexity, quality and service scope.

Both BT and DCP were extremely pleased with the approach: “Myself and all the others within DCP felt that ImprovIT were very professional and we had a lot of confidence in them,” explains the CTO.

Confirming Success and Identifying Improvements

The results of the market test showed that the overall price and quality of BT’s services compared favourably to its peers. VFM has been consistently achieved for all key services. Email was the single exception, though the quality issues are already being addressed which should close this gap.

While the VFM confirmation was certainly encouraging, the study also highlighted opportunities for optimisation and service improvement.

Embracing Continuous Improvement

BT is keen to ensure it continues to deliver the best quality services and prices to DCP – in line with other business and technology leaders who want to dispassionately baseline the present IT state and contrast it against peers, which is why this was the 3rd consecutive year that BT  recruited ImprovIT to conduct Market Tests.

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