Process to grant firm city CCTV contract is still ongoing: DCC

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Almost a year after inviting tenders for the city centre CCTV surveillance project, Derry City Council says the procurement process is still ongoing.

Last September the local authority invited applications for a select list of firms interested in replacing CCTV Cameras, providing maintenance and monitoring services for the local CCTV infrastructure.

And in the tender documents it suggested the contract would commence in “Q1 2014” and that the appointed supplier would be required to attend meetings with Derry City Council as part of site preparations.

However, with Quarter 1, 2014, days away from expiry, when asked by the Sentinel if any progress had been made on appointing a CCTV operator, a Council spokesperson stated “that the procurement process in relation to this project is ongoing.”

Nearly three years ago the Northern Ireland Audit Office (NIAO) ordered an investigation into the procurement of CCTV provision in Londonderry after a tender process to relocate the operation stalled.

A joint Derry City Council and PSNI ‘Review Panel’ was then established to look into the stalled tender process and found the decision to award the contract to a local alarms firm was “highly inappropriate.”

The panel made the “highly inappropriate” finding and also recommended in Spring 2012 that a full review of the entire CCTV system in the city be carried out.

In December 2012, Derry City Council commissioned Analysys Mason to conduct a Review of CCTV Infrastructure and Monitoring.

According to the tender documents: “The report has been completed and there are a number of recommendations that the partners now wish to implement: replacement of older CCTV cameras (primarily in the city centre); installation of new cameras to widen current coverage area (primarily along the riverfront); put in place preventative and remedial maintenance programme; integration of the current diverse systems into a single integrated system controlled from one monitoring location; increase he monitoring to 24 hours seven days per week.”

The Analysys Mason report, which was obtained by the Sentinel under Freedom of Information legislation, revealed that coverage of Foyleside Shopping Centre was knocked out during changes to secure coverage of the Peace Bridge. It also recommended a major overhaul of the CCTV operation that may cost tax and ratepayers hundreds of thousands of pounds over the next five years.