The Metropolitan Police is reviewing its £125m outsourcing contract with Sema following claims of "excessive" charges for routine services.
The police authority controlling the force's finances is studying a report into whether the five-year deal offers value for money.
Sema is three years into the contract to manage and support 14,500 desktop computers, helpdesks and local and wide area networks for the Met.
But research instigated by Metropolitan Police Authority (MPA) member Tony Arbour makes claims about charges for simple tasks, including:
- £300 to change a PC password
- £200 to destroy base units
- £100 to connect a printer to a computer's hard drive.
Arbour told vnunet.com's sister publication Computing that the MPA is examining the contract, and said he believes that the authority would even consider breaking it.
"On the face of it the charges seem excessive but, in totality, they may be reasonable. We will find out the cost of breaking the contract," he said.
An MPA spokesman confirmed that the Sema contract and four other non-IT outsourcing deals were to be reviewed next month.
"The finance, planning and best value committee will consider a preliminary report on the contracts, noting the length of contracts, monitoring arrangements, the circumstances in which charges might occur and the number of occasions when such charges have been incurred," he explained.
A Sema spokeswoman said that the company is aware of the review, but that it would not discuss commercially sensitive pricing details. "We will continue to work with the MPA," she said.
Stuart Payne, director of outsourcing consultancy Morgan Chambers, explained that it is increasingly common for suppliers to break down outsourcing contracts into a 'menu' of services.
"This is so odd as to merit wider examination of the rest of the deal. The numbers here look heavy," he said.
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