Invest to Save Budget scheme criticised as complex

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Invest to Save Budget scheme criticised as complex

Local authority IT managers are complaining about the bureaucracy involved in bidding for grants from the government.

Paul Donovan

Local authority IT managers are complaining about the bureaucracy involved in bidding for grants from the government.

The complaints arise out of the third round of the government's Invest to Save Budget (ISB) scheme which offers money for IT projects involving two or more public bodies.

Martin Greenwood, a project manager at the Society for Information Technology Management, said the burden of work generated by the bidding process often falls on the IT director.

"The application process can be particularly complex and bureaucratic, which results in IT directors running around trying to put these bids together," said Greenwood. "It is even worse if the bid fails."

Local authorities were among the most successful bidders for the third tranche of the ISB scheme, winning 46 out of the 52 applications made for funding under the scheme. Overall local authorities won £22.4 million for projects, which amounted to 37 % of the total third tranche of £61m.

The largest single successful bid came from the London Borough of Kingston, which secured £3.5m to provide a single public extranet portal for people to access council services. The service will cover 555,000 people in the boroughs of Kingston, Hounslow, Richmond and Merton.

Tony Newbold, network and communications manager at Kingston, said the bidding created an added burden for IT directors. "There were sleepless nights, exchanging e-mails at midnight but these are things that have to be done," he said.

The ISB amounts to a total of £380m and is spread over three years. A fourth tranche of funding will become available next spring. The first tranche was in December 1998 for £120m and the second tranche was in April 1999 for £45m.


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This was first published in March 2001

 

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