Socitm, the professional association for public ICT management, has launched a drive to raise hundreds of thousands of pounds to beef up its advisory group to help councils looking to move services onto the public services network.
Shortly before Christmas, the Cabinet Office agreed to the creation of the PSN Solutions Advisory Group (SAG) aimed at providing a central resource for local authority ICT departments.
Now Socitm is asking councils for subscription fees of between £500 and £2,000, with the money raised helping to fund increased staffing levels.
A statement by Socitm said: “Currently staffed by volunteers (the SAG) is struggling to cope with demand and needs proper funding and resourcing.
“With the necessary financial backing the SAG will include dedicated staff and secondments from central and local government based throughout the UK acting as a virtual team.”
Councils which agree to contribute will receive preferential support and access to a knowledge portal.
Small districts and boroughs will be asked to contribute between £500 and £1,000, medium-sized lower tier authorities between £1,000 and £1,500, with counties, unitaries and metropolitan boroughs asked for between £1,500 and £2,000.
Private suppliers wishing to join will be asked for between £2,500 and more than £5,000.
The payments will help fund the first year of the SAG’s operation, and if successful, further annual contributions could be sought.
The fundraising initiative has been driven by Socitm president Steve Halliday, who said: “Each organisation doesn’t need a full-time specialist.
“We need a small pool of people able to help each of the regions in the UK.
“Seeking central funding through measures such as New Burdens or ordinary central budgeting are difficult, not guaranteed and time-consuming. And we have an immediate requirement.”
He said funding would also be sought from Cabinet Office, the private sector and other government departments
Socitm also revealed more details about the work that the SAG will undertake, including a mandate to:
- Understand and promote the breadth and depth of local public services business needs through the analysis of previous and existing PSN CoCo compliance problems;
- Develop ‘use cases’ based on business scenarios, with supporting solution designs for discussion with central government to establish a simpler, more appropriate compliance regime for use in 2014 and beyond;
- Create a community network of existing local public sector experts to support and coordinate business solutions to information assurance and compliance issues;
- Work closely with regional PSN support and Warning Advice and Reporting Point (WARP) groups;
- Capture and share the learning openly and widely across the local public sector.