Newcastle City Council plans to spend up to £1.7 million on worker and vehicle tracking systems to improve mobile working.

The council wants up to 30 different IT suppliers to provide “hand held software products, vehicle tracking devices and associated field service management ICT services”, under four year contracts.

Its plans are to spend between £350,000 and £1.7 million in total on the deals, according to a new restricted procedure contract notice. Suppliers have until 2 September to submit their proposals.

The council is considering proprietary and open source approaches. The applications “should include a standard operating system (eg Windows Mobile platform, Windows XP, Linux)”, the council said.

Newcastle said it wants the technology to offer encryption for sensitive data, and work “when communications mechanisms are unavailable”. It should be easily carried by council workers on foot, easy to operate and create new jobs in the community, and interoperable with back office service management, document management and inventory management systems.

Vehicle tracking devices must record vehicle locations every minute, as well as storing a seven day history of driving factors such as the ignition being turned on and off and doors opening and closing.

Suppliers may also provide back office systems including service management, vehicle tracking, document management and inventory management. All need to be accessible via web browsers, and operated either as an external service or on the council’s own servers, Newcastle said.

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