Council approves £1.1m on urgent ICT spending

A London council faces a bill of more than £1 million despite a new service sharing agreement with a neighbour.

In July, the London boroughs of Kingston and Richmond agreed a deal to bring together services, including ICT, aimed at saving a minimum of £5m.

But Richmond has approved spending of £1.12m to make “essential investments” in ICT infrastructure before the sharing agreement is fully implemented.

A report approved by councillors last month said the additional investment would be necessary “, in order to enable the modernisation of a number of key systems to ensure ongoing compliance with security standards and to ensure an appropriate degree of resilience is in place to safeguard operational efficiency.”

However, it added that discussions are taking place with Kingston to identify opportunities to work collaboratively to minimise the level of investments required.

Richmond currently has a contract with supplier Serco to provide ICT service, which is due to expire in December 2016.

The replacement of this contract will form part of discussions between the two councils, but a number of more urgent spending items have been identified by Richmond.

The largest of these is £700m to replace 125 of the council’s 209 fileservers which must be upgraded when support for Windows 2003 runs out in July 2015.

The council said: “Opportunities to consolidate, virtualise or move to cloud hosting will be taken as appropriate.”

The council says that the overall bill can be covered by £720,000 from the existing Serco contract budget, with £310,000 to come from ICT project development reserves, and the balance from the council’s repairs and renewals fund.

Colin Marrs

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