Cardiff Council has signed an innovative 15-year 'insourcing' deal with Indian supplier TCS in a move that will allow it to transform its IT services while retaining its in-house technology and IT team.
The council, which plans to spend £150m on IT services over the life of the contract, will hold on to its 140 IT staff and its existing IT systems, while working with TCS consultants to develop technology that will improve the services it offers to Cardiff residents.
The project is part of a transformation project that will see the council offer innovative services to residents over the internet, rationalise its internal computer systems, and link disparate databases to eliminate duplicate records.
"We wanted to do something different. We have been very clear all along there will be no transfer of Cardiff IT staff. We have made significant investments in our people and we want to retain our expertise," said Alan Thomas head of ICT.
The deal will give Cardiff Council, which employs 18,000 staff, access to the expertise of consultants at TCS, which has a track record for major government IT projects in India and the US.
"We recognise that Cardiff has invested a significant amount of time, effort and money in technologies over the years, but we were very keen to make sure that as far as innovative solutions are concerned, we are making the best use of our current and future investments in IT," said Thomas.
The programme aims to exploit IT to make it easier for Cardiff residents to access council services. So, for example, residents could order a library book or book a squash court by phoning the council's call centre or filling in their details on the council website.
The IT department aims to work with TCS to integrate and rationalise its back office IT systems. One plan is to create a single service that will manage HR and payroll across the council's operations. Workers across the council will be able to phone a single call centre for HR and payroll queries.
"Rather than remain with point-to-point solutions we are looking to join up services," he said. "There are areas of duplication. A simple example is names and addresses - when people physically move house we have to update a number of databases, so it's duplication of effort."
The council aims to work with TCS to create an IT innovation centre that will generate ideas to invest in the council's IT services. About four TCS consultants will work in the centre, with a further six consultants embedded in the council's IT team.
TCS will begin with a 12-week project to assess the council's IT systems and to deliver a proposals to upgrade and develop them. The projects will delivered by the council's own IT staff, TCS or a combination of both. The council will assess the business case for each project before deciding which to implement.
Cardiff selected TCS after putting a contract out to procurement in December 2008. It reduced 14 initial bids to a shortlist of 3 before selecting TCS.
Brian Woodford, director for the public sector at TCS, said the contract with Cardiff differs from the normal buyer and supplier relationship.
"We are here to augment and provide skills and capacity to Cardiff," he said. "We really want to show a new approach to how local authorities could work. It is very citizen focused."
The council plans to sign similar deals with three further suppliers to cover non-IT related functions, including managing its property portfolio, risk management, schools and care facilities.
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