Agenda item

ICT and Digital Infrastructure Strategy

Steve Bruce, Assistant Director: ICT attending to facilitate a workshop on the ICT and digital infrastructure strategy.


Steve Bruce, Assistant Director: ICT presented the meeting with an overview of the current ICT Strategy explaining that in his first six months with the Council he had concentrated on key activities such as creating a workbook programme, gathering service metrics, embedding resource management and planning, improving the governance model, delivering a communications and engagement plan, developing a service catalogue, and a first draft of performance metrics, Service Level Expectations.


He explained that the use of TOTO, the new online query request system, had increased from 40% to 73% in it’s first few months. The migration to the Microsoft’s Office 365 cloud solution was now 35% complete but required a better internet connection to complete this. Microsoft were providing free consultancy many of the  solutions that the Council are planning to roll out. Steve also talked about a 6 month ‘Proof of Value’ programme that will be looking at multiple business drivers and their potential technology solutions,


In response to questions from Members the following points were made:


  • The Assistant Director: ICT proposed to reframe the strategy to work to a longer timeframe which would have less in focus the further away the timescale was.
  • Two business partners were amongst staff leading an improved communications agenda, IT newsletters were created each week and proving popular and members of the team were sitting in Departmental management team (DMT) meetings so that ICT was aware of activities and could feed in ideas/support.
  • It was reported that central to delivery was seeing the issue from the users point of view including Councillors and ICT engaged with their concerns and resolved issues.
  • The Assistant Director: ICT identified that the majority of what the Council used ICT for was within ‘normal’ activity therefore 80% could be anticipated i.e. ICT could focus on common solutions for common needs (without huge internal customer input) and 20% should be focused on design/development of more bespoke and BFC focussed needs/solutions.
  • It was discussed that the strategy should never be completed and it should be rolled forward within its final three years on a perpetual basis.
  • It was confirmed that many applications were housed in the basement (the ICT data centre at Time Square). Although each supplier offered an individual cloud-based solution it might not make sense to take up each individual offering and not build a cohesive and inter-connected cloud infrastructure. Consideration was being given to using a private cloud as a solution part of the overall solution.
  • It was confirmed that moving from capital to subscription based model would have an impact on revenue costs but after an initial 12 month pressure there would then be a 5 to 10% increase each year in the move from a capital to revenue model. Further decisions would need to be made on how to fund ICT long term.
  • ICT Service was moving from being a historical back office function to being a transformation partner and potentially touching all areas of the Council, for example, exploring the use of automation to replace repetitive actions.
  • Members were reassured that work was ongoing to protect the Council from cyber attacks and it was noted that all organisations with ICT on their own premises were vulnerable. More sensitive data was being transferred to a secure server/secure cloud services over coming months and years.
  • Although multi-factor authentication (MFA) was possible for devices it was acknowledged that organisations had to secure themselves against user behaviour.
  • Consideration was being given to how information was filed and it was noted that the current structure relied upon knowledge of meeting dates to retrieve information on previous decisions.
  • Action: Assistant Director: ICT to meet with Councillor Peacey to discuss her concerns around file structure and retrieving data.
  • The Head of Business Intelligence was working with the technical lead to develop links into services so that key data sources were included in the use of data dashboards. Information would be accessed before it was out of date and methods of collecting data would need to be co-ordinated across teams. It was noted that Members found not being able to access ‘fresh’ data frustrating and would like to participate in the development of the dashboard.
  • A pilot group of 50 members of staff were trialling bring your own device to work. It would be possible in the future to use non-Council mobile phones and smart phones, but, the ICT would continue to provide the current hardware as the main, supported, technology.
  • When there were issues with applications on ‘bring your own device’ ICT support would not be provided on the individual device support but instructions for how to reinstall the relevant application which was not working, in line with the now common approach to ‘BYOD’ across industry. 


The Chairman thanked Steve Bruce, Assistant Director: ICT for his presentation.

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