Birmingham City Hall

Birmingham optimising IT systems to overcome challenges

Birmingham City Council has announced that a new report is under consideration as the council looks to optimise its IT systems.

Following the recent rollout of a new system, issues were experienced after changing the planned approach to the new system. The council was originally planning to adopt a new system, leading to a change in business processes and a need to upskill members of staff to help with the implementation of the system, however the approach was evolved to mean that the new system would be adapted to fit the council’s existing processes. The report that has been submitted to the council’s cabinet now outlines how there have been some successes for the new system, but the shift in approach severely impacted the implementation of the new IT system.

Day to day functions of key departments have been affected due to senior officers and councillors only discovering the full extent of the issues in April of this year, with one such challenge affecting the way that transactions are allocated to accounts, creating a backlog. With the council looking to formally close its accounts for the 2022/23 year, this is impacting important goals. Due to this, the council is now working with external auditors to aim at closing the accounts by the end of August.

Councillor Brigid Jones, Birmingham City Council’s Cabinet Member for Finance and Resources, said:

“It is never easy when implementing a new IT system for an organisation of our size and scale – but there are lessons to be learned from what has happened and I am determined that the council will learn from this.

“Most important of all right now is the need to work at pace to resolve the issues we are facing and to be open and transparent about what they are. The focus of the council leadership on this will be relentless in the weeks and months ahead.

“Through this report, we detail what needs to be done and the plan for how to fund this, giving us a way forward to ensure effective and efficient systems and processes are in place as soon as possible.”

Data management, recruitment and monitoring processes have also been affected, however manual processes are in place to try and resolve issues, with a priority on those who are working with children and vulnerable adults.

The final cost of implementing the new system is anticipated to be around £10 million, and the report has requested that £46.53 million be allocated this year to fund the work that is required. That funding is likely to come from a range of service budgets, reserves and potentially capital receipts.

 

Image credit: iStock

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