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Islington and Camden Councils are seeking approval for plans to embark on a shared IT services push, a move the local authorities claim would save around £4m a year.
The councils want to create a joint committee to oversee the creation and running of its proposed £5m shared IT services initiative by 1 April 2016.
In a statement outlining the deal, the authorities said they anticipate needing to achieve combined savings of £185m by 2018/19, on the back of the government’s comprehensive spending review to be published in November 2015.
Moving to a shared services model should go some way to helping them reach this goal, according to a council-commissioned review of their respective IT infrastructures by the Society of Information Technology Management (Socitm).
Its findings uncovered a “clear alignment” between the two councils when it comes to using IT to transform their operations and save money, the report setting out the business case for the move stated.
“Officers from Camden and Islington have carefully considered the underlying business case and it is felt there is a sufficient level of benefit – financial and otherwise – to recommend the creation of a shared service,” the report continued.
According to the report, this will require “consolidating the expertise and best practice” of both councils’ IT teams, which jointly consist of around 300 people.
“Should the Cabinet Office decide a shared service should not go ahead in the form recommended or at all, both organisations will need to continue to deliver individual services,” it added.
The plans need to meet the approval of senior officials at both London boroughs, with a decision from the Cabinet Office at Camden Council due on 9 September 2015 and from Islington Council on 24 September 2015.
Andy Hull, executive member for finance and performance at Islington Council, said the proposals were a good example of how the government’s austerity measures are forcing authorities to innovate to cut costs.
“Islington and Camden are coming together to harness digital technology so we can deliver services in a way that suits local people and saves us precious money at a time when government continues to cut inner-city councils to the bone,” said Hull.
“It’s a good example of how – in the face of unprecedented challenges – we are innovating and coming up with genuinely transformative solutions.”
Councillor Theo Blackwell, cabinet member for finance and technology at Camden Council, added: “In the future, the joint service may also be able to generate income for both councils through selling its combined expertise.”
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