Shropshire announces £600,000 ICT infrastructure plan

Shropshire Council is spending £600,000 on agency staff over the next three months to redesign its ICT infrastructure.

The council is undertaking the work as part of its response to complaints from staff and councillors about the quality of its current ICT arrangements.

A team of 14 consultants has been recruited by Adrian Ridpath, who was appointed as the council’s interim head of ICT strategy in September, to undertake a “short burst” project.

David Turner, portfolio holder for resources, finance & support and IT at the council, said: “Our aim is to have sufficient additional staff resources to redesign the whole of the ICT architecture in a comparatively short time.

“This should present us with some ‘invest to save proposals’ which hopefully will prove that by buying or leasing new systems, equipment and training our staff, we will overall, save money and improve performance.”

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In addition, functionality and user experience would be improved, while new systems would be moved to the cloud.

The work is expected to be delivered by March 2016, which Turner said would allow the council to procure new ICT arrangements as contracts for current systems run down.

In addition to the infrastructure work, the council is moving its back up data centre to a new location by the end of this month, which Turner said would “mean that our business continuity and disaster recovery arrangements will be significantly more robust”.

Separately, eight staff have been recruited on short term basis to carry out ICT business continuity and disaster recovery core system testing at a cost of £200,000.

The council is also reviewing its services through a public consultation, which could lead to a reduction in the scope of other ICT services.

“We know that we can streamline our ICT to provide fewer separate systems and enable greater productivity of staff by reducing duplicate data input, extending mobile and flexible capabilities and improving business processes,” Turner added.

Colin Marrs

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