Agenda item

Modernising the Council - Update on Digital Implementation Plan (SWITCH Programme) and ICT Infrastructure Replacement Programme

To consider a report by the Deputy Chief Executive (reference 15/287) attached.


The Cabinet considered a report by the Deputy Chief Executive (Reference 15/287) which provided an update on the Digital Implementation Plan and sought approval of the procurement of two further technologies to facilitate remote working by officers.  Members were reminded of the work over the last two years to renew and update the Council’s ICT infrastructure providing the foundation for high quality services into the future.  The Plan centred on using technology to develop new ways of working that gave customers a better experience of contact with the Council, and provided staff with modern effective tools to increase productivity and help reduce the cost of delivering services.  Reference was made to paragraph 5 in the report and Appendix 1 which showed some of the benefits already being achieved both in terms of customers choosing to use the web and self-service and service areas utilising the technology -  in particular field officers being able to adopt mobile working.  Further, a multi-agency Digital Inclusion Partnership had been established to target those excluded from the social and economic benefits of these new and emerging technologies.  The action plan of the DIP was commended for its ambition in not only tackling digital exclusion, but also supporting people in using digital technology to improve every area of their lives.  Members were very enthusiastic about these developments and thanked the officers concerned for their efforts.  The Deputy Chief Executive assured the Cabinet that ongoing staff training was recognised as essential to the success of the programme.

RESOLVED that the Cabinet:

  1. Note the contents of the report and the progress made in modernising the Council through the Switch Programme and ICT infrastructure replacement programme. 


  1. Approve the procurement of two further technologies that will enable officers using Council provided laptops to work from anywhere that has a Wi-Fi connection, namely:


                      i.        Corporate virtual private network (VPN) access; and

                    ii.        ‘On network’ Wi-Fi.


  1. Note that the capital cost for securing these technologies is identified within the ICT Capital Development Fund and approved Financial Strategy.


  1. There is a revenue growth of up to a maximum of £6,000 per annum to increase the internet bandwidth and enable Wi-Fi access from all key Council buildings.  This will be achieved from the revenue savings identified in the corporate ICT budget for 2016/17 as part of the current budget setting process.


  1. Delegate authority to the Director (LD) to enter into the contracts for the corporate VPN access and on network Wi-Fi subject to the costs not exceeding the funding as identified in the financial implications (paragraph 6).


  1. Endorse the approach to digitising the Council and the development of a programme of continuous business improvement to realise the full benefits and efficiencies that can be achieved by embedding and utilising the new technology and Firmstep service delivery platform across all Council services.



This report is to update members on progress made with the Council’s ICT infrastructure replacement programme and the Digital Implementation Plan (SWITCH programme); both previously approved by Cabinet at the following meetings:


·         17 September 2013 – Ref: 13/317, Digital Implementation Plan

·         14 January 2014 – Ref: 14/20, ICT infrastructure Replacement Programme


The Switch Programme and IT infrastructure replacement have now successfully implemented a new digitally enabled business operating model.  This is helping the Council meet the financial challenge to deliver more for less: enabling new ways of working that are cutting the costs of service delivery and ensuring the Council remains ‘fit for purpose’ in an increasingly digital world.

The new digital service delivery platform is ‘cloud-based’ and secure.  This has improved access to services for our customers allowing web enabled self – service via a new transactional Council website.  It has delivered mobile working capability for staff.  Many of the Council’s workers are constantly on the move in their daily jobs e.g. waste operatives, environmental health officers, handypersons, dog wardens.  Mobile working underpins smarter working, enabling staff to deliver better services to more people, in less time.  Information, service delivery forms and tasks can be accessed remotely by officers via tablet devices or smart phones.  The ‘cloud’ base means they do not need direct access into the Council’s internal secure ICT network.

In addition, a new corporate EDRM system has been implemented and an integrated communications system (telephony).  The corporate desktop has been renewed and PC devices replaced by laptops and the core IT architecture that underpins all the Council’s business operations has been modernised.

This report outlines the benefits and change we are already achieving by utilising this new technology to redesign service delivery processes and increase productivity: reducing travel time and bringing down associated costs, speeding up delivery time, reducing the need for manual rekeying and duplication, and reducing the need for paper-based forms and printed worksheets.

The recommendations for consideration and approval in this report will ensure the Council maximises the benefits of the recent technology investments and continues to exploit the opportunities they provide.

We are asking for approval to implement two additional technologies that will complete the agile (mobile/remote) working platform, extending flexible working to all officers who need access directly into the Council’s secure ICT network. 

The technology enhancements this will require are a secure corporate VPN and wireless network access points within Council buildings.  This will build on the recent IT enhancements which have delivered the replacement of static PCs with laptops and associated network technologies.  The proposed corporate VPN access and Wi-Fi enhancements will provide access into the Council’s secure, private network enabling officers to access shared files and corporate IT applications, such as the T1 finance system, from anywhere that has a Wi-Fi connection.   This will support flexible working for all officers and meet the ‘work from anywhere’ objective, including home working, remote working and hot desking.  Evidence nationally suggests there are proven cost benefits and increased productivity from enabling a flexible, agile workforce.  

Supporting documents: