CMA finds competition concerns in merger of emergency service software vendors

NEC and SSS are among a small number of vendors that provide essential software solutions to emergency service providers (including police forces, fire and rescue services and ambulance trusts) as well as to transport service providers (such as TfL and rail operators).

These include:

  • “integrated communication and control services” (ICCS) used by control room personnel in daily tasks such as receiving and making urgent telephone calls to communicate with emergency response personnel.

  • specialized software (known as “Duties”) to police forces to enable shift planning and scheduling. Providing this software requires significant expertise and experience.

  • Records Management Systems (RMS) which allow the police to record and manage case information such as the processing of persons in police custody and the management of cases for prosecutions.

The CMA found that for each of these 3 services, the market is relatively concentrated, with NEC and SSS typically being 2 of only 3 providers with a large established customer base.

The CMA examined the impact of the merger on these services and concluded that the transaction raised competition concerns for all three software products.

David Stewart, Executive Director, Mergers and Markets, said:

We all rely on our emergency services, and they in turn rely on essential services such as those provided by these 2 companies. The CMA’s role is to ensure that this agreement does not harm competition in this market, so that UK police, fire and ambulance services have choice of supplier and can ensure the most reliable and innovative services available.

Ultimately, the software provided by NEC and SSS is paid for by the taxpayer and we cannot risk higher prices or a lower level of service.

It is now up to NEC to provide us with commitments to address our concerns.

To address these concerns, the CMA has given NEC until May 9, 2022 to propose a commitment that could be accepted.

If no commitment that addresses CMA’s concerns is offered, the matter will be referred for further investigation.

More information on the NEC/Capita case page.

Notes to Editors

  1. SSS refers to SSS Public Safety Limited (formerly Capita (SSS) Limited) and Secure Solutions USA LLC (formerly Capita Software (US) LLC).

  2. In the ICCS market, the third established player is Frequentis. On the rights market, the third player is Crown and, to a lesser extent, Totalmobile is also in competition with NEC and SSS. In the RMS market, the third established player is Niche.

  3. All media inquiries should be directed to the CMA Press Office by email at [email protected] or by telephone on 020 3738 6460.

Veronica J. Snell