The London Borough of Enfield has outsourced its IT provision to services company ITNet to help it improve the level of services it offers to taxpayers, reduce its IT spend and support its drive towards delivering services electronically.
Enfield Council wanted to update its scattered IT systems and overhaul its corporate finance, planning, revenues and benefits services. It also needed to get into step with the Government's modernising agenda. However, the organisation was faced with funding and staff issues.
The council wanted to cut its IT services budget from £7m to £6m a year, and it was becoming increasingly difficult to retain the IT staff needed to manage the proposed changes internally. So the council decided to get outside help from a third party.
Having put the contract out to tender, the council chose ITNet from a shortlist of three, and signed a 10-year contract with the firm.
The nature of the deal meant that about 40 council employees had to transfer to ITNet.
The supplier undertook to implement a range of IT projects, including a network upgrade and a voice system upgrade. It also provides application support and maintenance, desktop service support and consultation services for new project developments.
Mark Clark, Enfield Council's assistant director of resources, says the council chose ITNet because it felt that the company would work with the council, not for the council. He adds that the company met the people - as well as the IT and technology - requirements of the contract and was sympathetic to the council's needs.
In the two years that the contract has been running, ITNet has replaced the finance system, upgraded the voice system and implemented a Lotus Notes e-mail system. It is now developing the council's Web site and is
re-engineering business processes.
The work has laid the foundations for the council to meet the requirements of the Government's modernising agenda. All the elected council members now have access to technology that enables them to work from home, and the council is working on giving local citizens 24x7 access to council services via the Internet, contact centres, a one-stop-shop or via the telephone.
Enfield Council is also working with ITNet to develop more business processes, replace its human resources and payroll systems and roll out an
Clark says that, so far, the change management process has been "smooth", largely because the 40 transferred staff were included in the process at every step. Clarke says the council now has a network that can cope with and support its IT requirements. More importantly, he says it is now in a better position to plan for its future service requirements, with a platform upon which it can support its drive towards e-government.