04 Jul 2012
ICON Corporate Finance advises election software and managed services provider Opt2Vote on its sale to Idox Plc
ICON Corporate Finance is delighted to announce the sale of Opt2Vote. Opt2Vote provides outstanding expertise and knowledge across all areas of election management and specialises in the provision of managed services solutions and market leading innovation in areas such as e-Counting and Early Voting. Opt2Vote supplies electronic vote counting solutions to 32 Scottish local authorities as well as managed print services to a large number of UK councils.
This new acquisition by Idox complements their acquisition of Strand Electoral Software in 2010 and by combining the strength of the Strand software solutions with the Opt2Vote product and services, Idox will be able to deliver a seamless and comprehensive range of leading democratic solutions and managed services to its customers.
As a combined business more than a third of the council elections across the UK and elections for the Mayor of London and London Assembly, taking place in May 2012, will be supported by the Idox group. The government’s localism agenda will see increases in the number of local elections and changes in the way that elections are managed. Both Opt2Vote and Strand will be supporting new mayoral elections and the police and criminal commissioner elections in May and November of this year. This leaves Idox well placed in the democracy market at a time when the number of local elections continues to increase as part of the government’s plan to increase local decision making.
Richard Kellett-Clarke, CEO of Idox, commenting on the acquisition said: "This acquisition of Opt2Vote further cements our strategy to deliver a broad range of electoral software solutions and managed services at a key time for local authorities. We already understand the efficiency gains able to be delivered by Opt2Vote’s managed print services and the successful outcomes of the Scottish e-counting pilots which will be used live in the forthcoming local elections. As plans for increased local democracy are implemented, councils will need to consider how associated costs are able to be controlled and have access to tried and tested software solutions that offer efficient management with minimal risk.”
ICON Corporate Finance, led by Alan Bristow acted as advisers to Opt2Vote and ran a competitive sale process with Idox Plc being selected as the preferred buyer.
Alan Bristow added: “Idox is one of the market leaders in election management services and the acquisition of Opt2Vote will strengthen their position in this sector as the market for managed election services expands and new technologies are adopted. Opt2Vote is a recognised innovator in the market and the combination with Idox provides a very exciting future for this Northern Ireland based business.”
ICON Client Secures £5.2m Contract with Logica
Derry-based election services provider OPT2VOTE Ltd. has won a multi-million pound contract to provide electronic vote-counting services in local government elections in Scotland. The company won the £5.2m contract in a partnership led by Logica, one of the UK’s largest technology companies. OPT2VOTE’s software will be used to prepare ballot papers for printing and to enable the electronic counting of completed ballot papers while Logica will provide implementation and support services before and during elections. The contract covers the local government elections scheduled in all 32 Scottish Councils for May 2012 as well as subsequent by-elections in local authorities until 2015.
Scotland’s Minister for Enterprise, Energy and Tourism Jim Mather said: “Since the problems encountered in the 2007 elections, this Government has taken a series of measures and introduced reforms to ensure there is no repeat. The introduction of the new e-counting system is a major step in that process. Come the election, it will offer greater transparency through better displays of information as the count progresses. The system will have been subjected to rigorous testing to protect against the failures of the past. We have worked closely with our partners in local government to ensure that an effective and transparent e-counting system is in place that meets all expectations”.
“We are delighted to have secured such a high-profile contract”, said Ann Marie Slavin, Managing Director of OPT2VOTE. “The win confirms our position as one of the premier providers of election services in the UK. We are particularly pleased to have won the contract in collaboration with Logica, a long-standing and valued partner with huge expertise in the UK public sector.”
Phil Gooch, Director, Public Sector at Logica added:“Scotland is leading the way ineCounting and we are proud to have been chosen to help deliver this cutting edge technology for the 2012 local government elections. We have a truly dedicated team of experts with extensive experience in working with the Scottish Government and the Scottish Parliament. This gives us a unique knowledge and understanding to help us deliver this innovative system. We are confident we can deliver for Scotland.
”The Scottish Government uses the single transferrable vote (STV) system for local government elections in Scotland. Due to the complex calculations involved in the STV system used in Scottish local government elections (the Weighted Inclusive Gregory system), electronic counting is required to deliver an accurate result within a satisfactory timeframe. A manual count would take approximately two to three days. OPT2VOTE and Logica were selected as the preferred suppliers of the electronic counting services after a rigorous competitive tender.
OPT2VOTE is one of the premier election service providers in the UK, providing outstanding knowledge and experience across all areas of election management. Founded in 2002, the company has pioneered the introduction of technology and automation in the election process and is a leader in e-voting (the use of the internet, telephone and SMS for elections), electronic vote counting and postal vote management and verification.
The OPT2VOTE electronic counting system accelerates the speed of election counts, improves the accuracy of results by reducing manual errors, and reduces the amount of manual effort involved. The OPT2VOTE system supports a number of voting methods including Single Transferrable Vote (STV) and has been used in legally binding elections in the UK since 2007, as well as Scottish Health Board elections in 2010. The count algorithm has been independently certified by the Laboratory of Software Quality (Eindhoven University of Technology/Radboud University Nilmegen), to ensure its accuracy, integrity and compliance with the formula for the calculation of these election results.