The UK Home Office has published details of the changes to its contract with Motorola Solutions for the delivery of the Emergency Services Network (ESN) Lot 2 User Services contract in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU).

The changes are required, given the delay to ESN rollout and the resulting changes to the timetable for its delivery, along with the shift from WAVE 7000 to Motorola Solutions’ Kodiak product for mission-critical push-to-talk functionality and ESN/Airwave interworking and the programme’s shift from a ‘big bang’ approach to an incremental rollout of functionality.

The changes listed include the Home Office’s decision to extend the duration of the contract so that it ends in December 2024 (which was announced in September 2018), which is beyond the December 2023 deadline that was agreed as part of an extension under the original terms of the contract. The notice states that this new extension is to “to fully rollout the solution to the users and to avoid the risk of impacting on the benefits of the service to the users.”

Under the revised terms, the value of the contract has risen to £401 million from the previously agreed £319 million (the original OJEU value of £294 million, in addition to £25 million in previously agreed changes). This additional £82 million breaks down as follows:

  • £44 million for the additional year of the contract
  • £12 million for enhanced support to the Kodiak product
  • £26 million for additional capability to enable delivery e.g. additional hardware for testing.

The contract variation notice states that “The need for these changes has arisen because the ESN project is delayed and therefore changes are required to the delivery timetable. Further the change from Wave 7000 to the already working Kodiak product de-risks delivery and enables the programme to move to a standardised solution faster. The incremental approach enables user benefit to be achieved earlier than under a ‘big bang’ rollout. The Home Office needs to secure delivery of an ESN solution as early as it reasonably can, both to avoid high ongoing costs of the Airwave service which ESN will replace; and to provide end users with more modern and advanced functionality. The Home Office considers this variation represents the best option for securing delivery as early as possible.”

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As part of the changes covered by the notice, “…historic disputes and claims are between the Home Office and Motorola will be settled.” Land Mobile and Critical Communications Today have approached both parties for more details of these disputes and will update this story should they become available.

A good chunk of the variation notice is devoted to the Home Office’s explanation as to why these services could not be procured elsewhere. It explains that “the services being procured under the modified contract can be provided only by Motorola because competition is absent for technical reasons.”

The notice says that “Motorola has made substantial progress in the development of a technical solution, and any alternative provider would require time to 'catch up'; a change to a new provider would require the migration of technical infrastructure from Motorola to the new provider, causing further delay; the technical interface between Airwave and ESN is owned by Motorola (and Airwave-ESN interworking will be required to facilitate the transition from ESN to Airwave, and to avoid users having to carry both Airwave and ESN devices, and/or have unsatisfactory “work-arounds” in their control rooms); and the Home Office may be unable to sub-license essential software to a new provider.”

The Home Office states that if it were to use a different provider for all these services, it would delay the full rollout of ESN by around five years, costing it approximately £2.6 billion, while if it were to continue to use Kodiak but switch to a new provider for the Lot 2 contract, the delay would be just over two years at a cost of around £1.1 billion. These figures taken into account the need to pay the new provider while also probably incurring additional legal costs and contractual disputes.

Author: Sam Fenwick