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Reading Borough Council to overhaul IT infrastructure

Council and its children’s services partner award contracts worth £13.2m for shared IT infrastructure

Reading Borough Council and its children’s services partner, Brighter Futures for Children, are investing in IT infrastructure to overhaul digital public services.

The pair have signed a series of contracts, totalling £13.2m, covering four areas of IT infrastructure, including communications, hosting, networks and workspaces, and IT support.

Until now, these services have been outsourced to a single company, but from 1 April 2021, the council’s new, multi-supplier operating model will come into effect.

Agilisys will take over responsibility for hosting and workspaces, while Virgin Media Business will run communications technology and North will manage networks. The council is also supported by digital consultancy Channel 3 Consulting to manage the transition between suppliers.

Ellie Emberson, lead councillor for corporate and consumer services, said the new operating model will help provide more value for money.

“It is a stepping-stone to the vision of a connected Reading that will be laid out in our digital strategy later this year,” she said. “From 1 April, teams will really have the tools that they need to excel and, importantly, this will translate for quicker and better outcomes for our residents.”

As well as creating the underpinning IT infrastructure for the council and Brighter Futures for Children’s digital services, the suppliers will also provide wider social benefits for the region, such as employment skills and digital inclusion. This includes Agilisys providing a digital inclusion bursary and talks on the technology industry and career opportunities to students at secondary schools in the borough.

Martin Chalmers, chief digital and information officer at Reading Borough Council, said signing the deals “is a critical and foundational milestone in our digital transformation”.

He added: “They give us the control and flexibility we need to shape digital capabilities to meet the needs of Reading’s residents, businesses and visitors, offer demonstrable value for money, and provide direct benefit to our communities.”

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