Agenda item

Shared ICT Contracts Update

To receive and consider the report of the Chief Executive.


Chris Sinnott, Chief Executive presented the report which provided an update on the alignment of ICT contracts that had been delivered since the phase 1 development of shared services in 2020/21.


In 2021, a Joint ICT Procurement Strategy was developed based on the implementation of shared ICT services and the Joint Digital Strategy which set out a shared vision for the councils’ digital technology. The aim of this was to align software procured and used by both authorities to facilitate the alignment of services, ensuring standardised functionality and ways of working for staff in a shared environment and also for the shared ICT service in managing software and contracts. It was hoped that this would improve service efficiency whilst also enabling resilience and savings for shared systems.


An initial list of systems was identified based on priorities for the council in terms of alignment and current contract end dates. An update on progress against the alignment of these contracts was outlined within the report. Significant progress had been made, with only two contracts out of the 11 not yet completed or implemented.


The Committee considered the benefits of the shared ICT service and maximising the use of the shared systems through examples such as the shared telephony and printing systems. Members recognised that the success of the shared service was not just financial savings but also the resilience built.


Officers advised that there had not been significant cashable savings from aligning the systems as the costs of IT had increased considerably over the last few years. However, the councils had been able to maintain the cost of these systems within the individual council budgets.


Queries were raised in relation to ICT staffing issues and pressures faced as a result of taking on the management of new systems. In response, members were advised that although some of the hard to recruit posts had been recruited to, there were still vacancies within the team and pressures faced in relation to the helpdesk and business systems. Changes were being made to relieve these pressures including recruiting a helpdesk manager, reviewing how best to target recruiting to the business systems resource, and including ongoing customer support as part of negotiations for new contracts where necessary.


Following concerns that Members were not receiving enough IT Support, reassurances were provided that this was being addressed through iPad clinics, resourcing the helpdesk and ongoing case management system discussions through the member development working groups.


The Committee discussed the suggested 18-month timeframe for the new asset management system at South Ribble to be fully operational. Officers advised that this would be due to ensuring that the quality of the information being inputted into the system was correct, however the benefits would be realised as and when implementing the different elements. Chorley already used the same asset management system, and it was therefore proposed that South Ribble utilise the same templates to help assist the process. This again highlighted the benefits of shared services.


Resolved (Unanimously):

That the report be noted.

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