Oxford City Council will move its IT services out to Oxfordshire County Council, after an internal report said its systems were “creaking at the seams”.
The shared services move will take place in April, involving 24 city council staff relocating, and is aimed at saving the city £200,000 on annual IT costs over approximately seven years, it was reported. The council will spend £100,000 a year on IT upgrades, on top of its £1.4 million IT services expenditure.
An internal report by consultants Hedra in April last year found that the systems were “creaking at the seams” and urged action to be taken quickly to avoid an “equipment meltdown” with 18 months, according to The Oxford Times. The problem came from a lack of investment over the past decade, the newspaper reported.
Council leader Bob Price was reported as saying: “To say the system is creaking is one thing, but it is certainly not broken and we haven’t had any difficulty in delivering good service in recent times. It hasn’t been a case of under-investment. There has been massive investment over the years and it was agreed to put in £500,000 a year, three years ago.”
A spokesperson at the council told Computerworld UK that reports of an imminent meltdown were “an exaggeration”, adding that "while some of the systems have been creaking, we haven’t had difficulty delivering services recently".
Last week, public sector IT directors’ organisation Socitm threw its weight behind calls for a £250 million government cash injection to help local councils begin shared service projects. IT supplier Logicalis, which originally made the calls, said shared services were a crucial way of cutting costs and improving efficiency.