The Schools ICT Services division of East Sussex Local Authority supports 194 schools. During 2009, East Sussex Local Authority began a strategic review of all ICT Services including those provided to schools. An extensive consultation process with schools was undertaken, to better understand the ‘customer’ requirements from an IT service point of view; members of the school ICT support team at East Sussex also visited other Local Authorities to see how school ICT services were being delivered elsewhere. This process ultimately led to a complete re-design of school IT support services within East Sussex.
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Whilst East Sussex had good ‘buy in’ from schools into their IT support services, the nature of the services had hardly changed over time. In addition the service delivery itself was resource-intensive, based as it was on a ‘reactive’ approach to IT-related problems, and on-site school visits by a technician once a fortnight. Feedback from the schools also indicated that the services could be improved – schools wanted better value for money and a predictable cost for their IT support. In essence schools just wanted their IT to work.
The East Sussex team believed that with the appropriate use of technology, IT support to schools could be transformed from a reactive model to a proactive one, delivering better services more efficiently. The ultimate objective was to reduce IT downtime in schools and increase customer satisfaction, for a single, predictable cost to schools – a ‘Premier Service’ that would meet the joint challenges of schools’ increasing reliance on IT and the budget cuts brought about by the Coalition’s deficit reduction plan.