GLRO 20-05 Contract for electronic counting system and related service

Type of decision: 
GLRO decision
GLRO 20-05
Date signed: 
14 November 2018
Decision by: 
Mary Harpley, Chief Officer of the GLA

Executive summary

Officers recommend the award of the contract to CGI IT UK in partnership with Smartmatic to provide:
• an electronic ballot paper counting system;
• supply of ballot papers and ballot boxes and associated supplies/services;
for the 2020 Mayor of London & London Assembly elections.


That the GLRO approves the award of the contract to CGI IT UK in partnership with Smartmatic for the supply of:

• an electronic ballot paper counting system;
• ballot papers and boxes; and
• associated supplies/services,

in respect of the 2020 (and, at the option of the GLRO at a later stage, the 2024) Mayor of London & London Assembly elections with a contract value (for 2020 provision) of £8,991,132.

Part 1: Non-confidential facts and advice

Introduction and background

Procurement Process

A prior information notice was published in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU) notifying potential suppliers of a briefing session to commence the process to procure an electronic ballot paper counting system; supply of ballot papers and ballot boxes and associated supplies/services for the 2020 Mayoral and London Assembly Elections. The briefing session was held at City Hall on 5 October 2017, and provided an early opportunity for interested suppliers to get a better idea of the Greater London Returning Officer’s (GLRO’s) requirements to facilitate the receipt of high quality tenders.

The contracting opportunity was then advertised in the OJEU on 9 June 2018 (reference number 2018/109-248340) on behalf of the GLRO, with a Standard Selection Questionnaire (SSQ) and draft ITT documents and contract terms and conditions asking for expressions of interest for the development, supply, installation and provision of an electronic vote counting system and related services for the electronic count of votes in the May 2020 election with the option to also cover the 2024 elections.

As part of the call for competition suppliers were provided with a clarification period prior to SSQ submissions. Nine suppliers registered an interest. An EU compliant procurement was then undertaken for the SSQ stage and an evaluation team was established ensuring representation from all relevant stakeholders.

The selection criteria comprised:

1. Financial Stability
2. Business Activities
3. References
4. Insurance
5. Quality Assurance
6. Health and Safety
7. Equal Opportunities
8. Environmental Management
9. Mandatory grounds for exclusion
10. Professional & business standing
11. Requirement-specific Questions

Three SSQ responses were received by the deadline of 9 July 2018.

The three suppliers were then provided with Invitation to Tender (ITT) documents on 3 August 2018 for completion and return by 19 September 2018. During the ITT clarification period one supplier withdrew and notified the Deputy Greater London Returning Officer (DGLRO) accordingly.

Both remaining contractors were required to complete a pricing schedule as part of their tender submission with an instruction to price all aspects of the delivery of the e-counting service as detailed in the Specification, set out in Volume 2 of the ITT.

It was further specified that the contractor meet all costs associated with the organisation, delivery and management of the project as outlined in the specification. The contractor would be expected to keep costs to a minimum and provide the most cost-effective solution to ensure value for money, without compromising on quality, accuracy and compliance with standards and security.

In addition each contractor was requested to provide pricing proposals that delivered and reflected the specified requirements, providing a detailed price breakdown of the elements involved and, where applicable, unit costs. Prices were to remain fixed throughout the contract. Any enhancement or amendments to the requirements were to be agreed in accordance with the Change Control Procedure contained within the Conditions of Contract, set out in Volume 3 of the ITT. It was made clear all prices quoted were to be inclusive of all expenses.

The evaluation of the two remaining bids took place from 20 September to 8 October 2018 and each supplier gave demonstrations of their respective E-Counting systems at City Hall on 2 October 2018.

Consensus evaluation meetings chaired by TfL took place on Monday 8 and Friday 12 October when the scores from the evaluators were checked to ensure compliance with the published evaluation criteria, weightings and scoring methodology. Both tenders were of a high standard, but CGI demonstrated an overall higher technical ability to deliver the requirement. The price tendered for the contract to deliver an electronic count in 2020 is £8,991,132. The contract also contains an option exercisable at the discretion of the GLRO, for CGI’s provision of supplies and services for the 2024 elections.

Both tenderers were issued with letters on 1 November 2018 notifying them of the outcome of the evaluation, the GLA’s intention to award a contract to CGI on or after 13 November 2018 and, in the unsuccessful tenderer’s case details of the relative merits and advantages of CGI’s tender (in accordance with the requirements of the Public Contracts Regulations 2015). The mandatory “standstill” period expired on 12 November 2018 without legal proceedings having been commenced to challenge the proposed award. Authority is sought therefore, to enter into contract with CGI, the party having submitted the most economically advantageous tender, with a split of 70% towards the technical criteria and 30% towards the commercial criteria.

Other considerations

a) Links to strategies and Corporate Plan

The conduct of Mayor of London and London Assembly elections is a statutory function of the Greater London Returning Officer (GLRO), funded and supported by the Authority.

b) Impact assessments and Consultation

Tenderers were asked to indicate compliance with the GLA’s equalities and environmental policies.
The equalities implications of the proposed contract will be addressed in the contract conditions and specification through the design of the ballot papers and the accessibility of adjudication and progress screens to be used at the counts.
Sustainability will be addressed in the specification through the design of the single-use ballot boxes and the requirement for GLRO approval of the transport plan for the delivery of the ballot papers and ballot boxes.
Contractors will be required to comply with all appropriate health and safety regulations in force at the site where their activity is undertaken, whether in the UK or overseas.

All appropriate stakeholders (including the government, Electoral Commission, London Boroughs and political parties) will be consulted regularly on relevant aspects of the project plan and the delivery of statutorily compliant and accessible elections.

Constituency and Borough Returning Officers together with the London Branch of the Association of Electoral Administrators have already expressed their support for the continuation of e-counting at GLA Elections.

Financial comments

Approval is sought for the award to CGI IT UK of the contract for the provision of an electronic ballot paper counting system, supply of ballot papers and ballot boxes and associated supplies and services for the 2020 GLA elections at the quoted price of £ 8,991,132 which will be met from within the existing Elections budget.

The contract price includes all costs associated with the organisation, delivery and management of the project as outlined in the specification.

There is an option to extend to the 2024 Elections. The budget allocation for this Election has not yet been determined but will call upon the GLA’s Elections Reserve and be subject to future years’ strategic planning and budget process.

All appropriate budget adjustments will be made.

The London Elects team, in liaison with the Finance and Governance Team, will be responsible for monitoring the contract to ensure that milestones are met, and payments are made in line with agreed milestones.

Planned delivery approach and next steps

Officers to prepare contract for execution and have executed by the GLA and CGI.

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