Councils consolidate their spending on most popular packages

Local authorities are increasingly dependent on a handful of suppliers for core business applications.

Local authorities are increasingly dependent on a handful of suppliers for core business applications.

According to the Society of IT Management’s Application Software Index, just two software suppliers provide social services systems to 86% of authorities.

Some 91% of council tax collection systems are supplied by four companies and 90% of electoral registration systems have been developed by four software suppliers.

The index’s editor Brian Westcott said, “The pace of consolidation is accelerating, but I’m surprised that there are any in-house systems in use at all in some areas.

“In planning there are a lot of established systems around, but still 5% of councils use in-house applications.”
A small minority of councils – less than 5% – even continued to use their own applications for general ledger, although many packaged products were available.

In-house developed applications were much more widely used for specialist council functions. In refuse collection, for example, 37.4% of authorities used applications they had developed internally.

Socitm surveyed 353 of the UK’s 441 councils in England, Scotland and Wales for its eighth annual survey of the application software market in local government. Some 35 fire authorities, 23 police forces and 33 housing associations also responded to the survey.

The survey covered the applications used to support 77 different local authority services. Councils’ range of software suppliers was more diverse in relatively new software markets.

The four suppliers with the largest number of customers in the content management systems market accounted for just 37% of all councils.

The survey also revealed that software supplier OLM Group had the largest share of the market in social care applications for the first time. Some 34% of councils with a social care service used OLM, compared with 29% that used Anite.

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