ICT services merger planned for Cambridge region

Councillors in Cambridge are set to appoint consultants to develop a plan to merge ICT services with two neighbouring councils.

A report proposing an increase in the level of shared services with South Cambridgeshire District Council and Huntingdon District council will be considered by a Cambridge City Council committee next week.

The meeting will be asked to approve the principle of appointing a firm  to conduct a baseline analysis of current ICT provision among the participating councils.

Lewis Herbert, leader of Cambridge City Council, said: “Sharing services with other councils can be the best way to retain and improve services that are essential for our residents.

“With a 40% reduction in government core funding for the council we have to find ways of making further savings for at least the next four years.”

A report set to be considered by the scrutiny and resources committee says that the current ICT models operated by the three councils are currently “radically different”.

White the city council has an in-house client team and outsourced delivery, the other two councils both operate a direct delivery model.

But the report said that the adoption  of a shared network and moves onto Microsoft products during the past year mean that differences between the authorities are diminishing.

The proposal is that all three councils will develop a technical strategy roadmap to standardise ICT systems in a planned way.

The consultants will also develop a target operating model for the future ICT shared function, and develop a  roadmap and implementation plan.

In addition, the consultants will help develop a job design of a manager post to lead the shared ICT service, which will be funded on an equal basis by the councils, using money from a central government efficiency fund.

Outline business cases would be produced for each council by September.

The committee will also consider plans to share legal services with the two authorities, which already share services including payroll and internal audit.

Colin Marrs

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