The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has signed a five-year IT managed services deal with Alfred McAlpine IT Services as part of a series of developments to upgrade the watchdog’s IT.

The McAlpine contract replaces the ICO’s previous managed services deal with Fujitsu. It will provide service desk support, network management, server management, desktop management, application management, hosting, disaster recovery and security management for the ICO’s six offices.

In its annual report, the ICO said the procurement had provided an opportunity to ensure the organisation’s IT services were well defined and would meet its current and future business needs.

“Considerable effort is being made to ensure our in-house team is well prepared to manage the new agreement,” the ICO said.

The ICO’s IT department has also worked on developing the functionality and supporting infrastructure of its core applications, including online facilities such as a knowledge base to support decision-making by casework staff.

“Developments have taken account of lessons learned, particularly from the early experience of handling freedom of information cases. The changes improved our ability to produce detailed management information,” the ICO said.

The watchdog body has also set up an in-house IT forensics unit to support the work of its investigations team.

Other developments include a project to improve remote working by ICO staff, using the Government Secure Intranet (GSI) framework agreement, and a pilot scheme to look at extending the use of the Meridio records management software – currently used as part of the ICO’s casework management system – to handle corporate documents and records.

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