Councils to save £8.3m through joint ICT services firm

Three South West councils are on the verge of agreeing to spend £2.2m to create a standalone company to deliver ICT services.

Exeter City, Teignbridge District and East Devon District councils are considering the plans, which would see the creation of the company, called Strata Service Solutions, wholly-owned equally between them.

Costs are understood to include the building of a new data centre and additional software upgrades, with the councils believing the creation of the company will save them £8.3m over 10 years.

A report which will be voted on by Teignbridge councillors later this month said: “The council could continue the current internal service provision. However it is apparent that the risks associated with this approach are substantial.

“Our capacity and ability to respond to both ‘business as usual’ and the wider “transformational agenda” would be limited and overall operating costs would be more expensive.

Because the company will be wholly owned by the councils, they will not be required to go through a EU procurement process to choose ICT provider.

The company is expected to go live on 1 November, if the plans are approved by all three councils.

Existing ICT staff will transfer to Strata under TUPE regulations.

East Devon’s ICT manager, Chris Powell, will be appointed as interim chief operating officer of the company from 1 August.

Recruitment for a permanent COO will be conducted through an internal and external campaign beginning in September.

The company’s service plan will be set annually, setting out the operational matters relating to the services.

Governance will be carried out through a joint executive committee comprising the leaders and chief executives of all three councils.

Colin Marrs

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