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SOLACE advocates more outsourcing ...
SOLACE advocates more outsourcing

The Society of Local Authority Chief Executives' e-government think-tank foresees a world in which all council minutes are available online and the private sector is involved in providing most services.

Sing when you're winning offers blueprints and guidelines for councils implementing e-government strategy.

It advises councils should not just try

to keep pace with other councils, but should look to the private and voluntary sectors for best practice.

'It is likely that, in less than 10 years' time, most services will be delivered in partnership, and funding will be focused on encouraging [councils] to work with private sector organisations,' it said.

SOLACE says councils should know who their stakeholders and partners are and develop online services to match their needs. In the management of information, the report says it is critical to consolidate data and re-use it many times across systems and organisations.

It points to the need to integrate internal systems with those of suppliers and ensure information is easily accessible.

Managing change starts with the chief executive, but has to involve staff from the outset.

'It will be vital to drive all cultural change from the top, and that means strong leadership from the chief executive and the whole top team,'

the report says.

Although the strategy advocates private sector involvement, SOLACE warns against knee-jerk contracting out when things go wrong.

Risk-taking is unavoidable the report says: 'By failing to act at all, you will be far more likely to make far more serious errors in serving your community.'

Agresso secure£491,000 deal

Monmouthsire CC has signed a£491,000 contract with IT systems provider Agresso. The deal will allow Agresso to supply an internet-enabled information management system. The finance, purchasing and invoicing modules will involve an£86m budget.

Steve Greenslade, corporate director of resources, said: 'The council is undergoing a radical culture change. We are restructuring the organisation and devolving responsibility.

'Agresso's approach during implementation is to transfer its knowledge to the client so we can take full ownership of

the system.'

'We were looking for a flexible and user-friendly system which would allow both financial people and non-accountants to manage their own budgets,' Mr Greenslade said.

In the longer term the council is planning to introduce web-based access for remote users such as schools.

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