Ericsson brought in to manage CPS telephone system

THE Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has outsourced national responsibility for its voice communications services for the next seven years to telecommunications company Ericsson.

International telecommunications systems suppliers Ericsson will manage voice communications across the CPS' 100 sites, including voice mail, fax, paging and mobile phone facilities.

The Charles Douglas Organisation, a firm of telecoms specialists, told the CPS to outsource its phone management after being called in to provide consultancy to the government body. Charles Douglas said this would reduce staff and capital costs, and remove overall responsibility for the service from the CPS.

CPS project manager Diane Cracknell predicted the new service would "significantly" save money, even in the first year.

The CPS currently uses different telephony services in each office. But it began implementing a single system in August, which it aims to have in place next summer.

IT has generally been a fly in the ointment for the CPS.

In February, the former Director of Public Prosecutions, Dame Barbara Mills QC, came under fire from MPs on the powerful Public Accounts Committee for the "significant failure in IT" at the service.

The CPS abandoned its flagship computer system, Scope, earlier this year – having spent over #10m on it and installing it in more than half of its 98 branches since it was first introduced in 1991.

A CPS spokesman said a CPS team was "in the early stages" of investigating Private Finance Initiative options for replacing Scope, and confirmed that all existing CPS computer systems were millennium compliant.