Latest Public Sector News

04.09.15

Camden and Islington propose shared IT service

Camden and Islington councils have proposed plans to merge their ICT teams by April 2016 in an attempt to save up to £4m per year. 

Due to government cuts, the local authorities are expected to deliver a combined saving of up to £185m by 2018-19. A review by SOCITM earlier this year found “a clear alignment in the strategic direction of both councils” with regards to their ICT services, and it was recommended that delivering a shared service was possible but an upfront investment of £5m would be required. 

Currently the councils employ over 300 ICT staff between them as a wide range of technologies are used to conduct their business as efficiently as possible and to deliver enhanced digital services for their residents. 

Under the proposals, a joint committee made up of representatives from both councils will meet in public to oversee the service and a single post will be created to lead and manage it. 

The majority of savings expected from the initiative would come from a “rationalisation of the workforce” and a reduction in FTE numbers – potentially of up to 50 FTEs – as the service moves from two standalone services. 

The councils said: “This integrated operating model would require fewer management and supervisory posts. It would also be expected, that there would be a further reduction in the workforce from process efficiencies, as both Councils would benefit from integrated networks, datacentres and common applications.” 

In addition to the workforce savings, the financial model assumes 11% savings on non-staff costs through the removal of duplicated spend and the integration of contract and software licensing. 

If the plan is approved, the costs and savings of the project will be shared equally between the two boroughs which have a longstanding track record of collaboration and already share their public health and internal audit services. 

Cllr Andy Hull, Islington Council’s executive member for finance and performance, said: “Islington and Camden are coming together to harness digital technology so that we can deliver services in a way that both suits local people and saves us precious money at a time when the government continues to cut inner-city councils to the bone. 

“It’s a good example of how, in the face of unprecedented challenges, we are innovating and coming up with genuinely transformative solutions.” 

The decision on whether to proceed with the proposals will be made by the Cabinet at Camden Council on 9 September and by the Executive at Islington Council on 24 September.

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