Decision details

Supplier contract award for Microsoft software licenses

Decision Maker: Chief Executive

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Is Key decision?: Yes

Is subject to call in?: Yes


The decision relates to the award of a contract for the provision of Microsoft licences.

This is a decision reserved to Cabinet under Constitution Part 4.5(10) relating to project approval.

However, in the circumstances, an urgent decision is made by the Chief Executive under her authority delegated by Part 9.3(b) of the Constitution which provides that the Chief Executive is authorised to take any urgent action necessary to protect the Council’s interests and assets where time is of the essence and it is impracticable to secure authority to act where such authority would otherwise be required.

In exercising such authority, the Chief Executive, will be guided by budget and policy framework, will consult the other Statutory Officers before acting and will report, in writing, as soon as practicable to the body which would otherwise have been required to give the necessary authority to act.

Key decision procedures and call in procedures will apply to any key decisions taken under this authorisation.


To award a three-year contract to the supplier Phoenix for the provision of all Microsoft software licences used across the Council and associated companies.

The value of the contract amounts to £1,107,123.21 over a three-year period.


Reasons for the decision:

The offer of a 3-year award with the associated discounts was only made during the week of 13th March 2023 - given the timescales for implementation, which must be by the 31st March 2023, which is what has generated the need for an urgent decision.

In order to obtain a £40,000 discount on the pricing, the agreement needs to be signed in the coming days. Otherwise the Council will pay the full cost for an annual deal.

The value of the contract amounts to £1,107,123.21 over a three-year period. This is in line with the existing capital and revenue budgets for the provision of the licences. No additional capital or revenue funding is required, nor is there a requirement to vire funds or to adjust annual budgets.

Time is of the essence to protect the Council’s financial interests by securing the discount of £120,000 over the three year period, and the discount will not be available if the decision awaited the next scheduled Cabinet meeting. For this reason, the use of the Chief Executive’s delegated authority to take urgent action is appropriate and justified.

If a decision is not taken with urgency, Microsoft will apply the April pricing, which has a 9% uplift on 2022/3 values. If an annual contract is taken out, the increase in cost will be in the region of £40,000 compared to the three-year cost, plus an uplift of 9%.

Alternative options considered:

1.       Follow the regular process – this would cost the Council upwards of £120,000 (circa 10% of the contract value) over three years.

2.       Approve an annual contract through the Head of Service (as the value would be below £500,000) – this would cost an additional £40,000 to the Council.

Signed off by senior officers:

Decision taken by Caroline Green, Chief Executive in consultation with Helen Bishop, Head of Business Improvement; Nigel Kennedy, Head of Financial Services; Susan Sale, Head of Law and Governance; and Councillor Nigel Chapman, Cabinet Member for Citizen Focused Services.

Urgent item?: Yes

Publication date: 24/03/2023

Date of decision: 24/03/2023

Effective from: 29/03/2023

Accompanying Documents: