Leeds CIO calls on local government to engage more on G-Cloud

A member of the Cabinet Office's Local CIO Council has urged local authorities to have their say on the G-Cloud and the app store.

Dylan Roberts, chief...

A member of the Cabinet Office's Local CIO Council has urged local authorities to have their say on the G-Cloud and the app store.

Dylan Roberts, chief officer (ICT) at Leeds City Council, said the opportunity is there for local government to play a central role in shaping the future of the G-Cloud and other parts of central government's IT strategy. But a large proportion of IT leaders and managers have not taken part in the discussion so far.

Councils are currently connected to the Government Connect network, which performs many of the jobs the Public Sector Network (PSN) will perform once the PSN replaces it. But Roberts said the approach to the network - and other parts of the IT strategy - is different this time.

"Government Connect was a national network that was almost hoisted on public services. The difference with this type of approach is it's our own. We can do this ourselves as long as we stick to the standards from a procurement point of view. By mixing and matching different elements, we can bring something specific to what we need and what our area needs," he said at this week's Socitm conference.

Government Connect funding will come to and end in March 2011, costing around £15,000 after that. Management for the service is also transferring from the Department for Work and Pensions to the Cabinet Office. The transfer to the PSN is the only part of the government's IT strategy that has been signed off, Roberts said, and development work is still ongoing.

"There is a different approach now between local public services and central government. We are involved in the decision-making, we are at the top table. There are representatives of local government involved with the Cabinet Office in terms of developing this in the future."

But more input is needed from local government CIOs and managers, he said, on everything from G-Cloud security to standards.

"These discussions need local government input. There is a significant shift in attitudes and there is a much more collaborative approach. But we have got to take advantage of that - we have got to be engaged."

He urged IT professionals not to just "sit back and wait" for the new initiatives, but to take part in the process of developing them.

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