Council ICT services ‘on shifting sands’ as outsourcing rises – report

Rapid ICT sector changes mean local authorities are increasingly relying on external computer services, according to a new report.

The ‘Shifting Sands: New Structures and Delivery Models’ study, published by the Society of Information Technology Management (Socitm), has found that the in-house ICT services model is becoming “outdated” and is being replaced by the use of semi- or fully-independent ICT companies.

For example, Plymouth City Council and the Devon Clinical Commissioning Group use Delt Shared Services Ltd, while Durham County Council has its own ICT services business, which provides computing support to councils, public sector organisations, schools, start-up businesses and community and voluntary organisations.

Dr Andy Hopkirk, Socitm head of research, said: “The ICT function stands on shifting sands, as major industry trends play out and service delivery models change.

“Inside the ICT function itself, there are new ways of obtaining and organising ICT services and new ways of team working and liaising with those who commission and who consume ICT services: a potent and complicated mix.”

Factors behind the rise of external ICT support include economic pressures, a growing emphasis on devolution and joined-up thinking between organisations, and technological changes which offer new platform-based approaches.

Local authorities exploring platform-based approaches and featured in the report include Essex County Council, Peterborough City Council and Aylesbury Vale District Council.

Last week, Socitm called for local government to play an active role in the development of the National Cybersecurity Strategy.


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