Council ‘happy’ to work with farm IT firm

Council leader David Parker and CGI's UK president Tim Gregory secure the deal.

Council leader David Parker and CGI's UK president Tim Gregory secure the deal.

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Scottish Borders Council has said it has no concerns about outsourcing its IT services to a firm involved in a heavily-criticised system to process farm subsidies.

The council announced the 13-year deal, worth £92 million, with CGI last week.

The authority said it would not have agreed the contract - set too bring 200 jobs to the region - if it had any concerns about the company.

CGI said it continued to work with the Scottish government on implementing new Common Agricultural Policy reform. It was welcomed by the authority’s leaders - as well as other local politicians - and the council said it did not have concerns over CGI’s role in the IT system designed to administer the new EU subsidy regime.

Critics claim the multi-million pound system is not fit for purpose - with farmers still waiting for money usually paid out in December.

Audit Scotland, who are investigating, have previously highlighted rising costs as well as risks to both the programme’s delivery and its value for money.

The Scottish government has blamed the increased cost on “compressed timescales” and changes to requirements.

A statement for SBC said it was happy to work with the company: “Our contract with CGI is the outcome of extensive and detailed work to ensure SBC appoints the best provider for its requirements.

“We would not be appointing CGI if we were in any doubt about their ability to meet our requirements.”

A spokesperson said: “CGI continues to assist the Scottish government in its significant business change programme for the implementation of the new CAP reform.”

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