Critical report prompts council ICT overhaul

A Scottish council is to spend £500,000 on overhauling its ICT systems after an external investigation found that current practices were out-of-date and under-resourced.

South Ayrshire Council members have agreed the changes in the wake of the exercise carried out by Socitm, the representative body for public sector ICT staff.

A new strategy will improve mobile connectivity to help agile working and establish more flexible online services.

Robin Reid, resources and performance portfolio holder at the council, said: “There has been a massive shift in technologies over the last decade and we need to better recognise the ways people now wish to communicate and source information.

“Other local authorities have already embarked on programmes to improve data storage and provide instant access to information.

“This approach reflects a 21st century ideal and could also lead to efficiency savings across the council.”

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In a report to councillors, officers said that a one-off cost of £459,500 will allow the council to set up a new operating model, including:
new governance arrangements, a detailed review of the data network and market testing for external support and provision of core ICT services.

Undefined levels of revenue support will also need to be put in place to support the structure, the report said.

Socitm’s report was carried out in March and found that the council’s “current ICT strategy is now out of date and in need of a refresh”.

It also said that the governance structure and commissioning process used to agree ICT work priorities were “no longer fit for purpose”.

In addition, a benchmarking exercise showed that the council was spending around two thirds on resources and revenue budgets for ICT compared to counterparts of a similar size and set of responsibilities.

A number of ICT projects were delivered “with little or no consultation with the end user”, it concluded, while projects were not properly planned.

Colin Marrs

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