The Highland Council recognises that it needs to improve its IT systems but with a remote rural population and over 300 separate locations throughout the region, it does not have the resources to achieve this. The outsourcing contract with ICL solves this problem by providing the council with all the expertise and skills of a specialist IT services organisation. This brings advantages of greater skills and training opportunities both to The Highland Council and to the staff involved in the move.
ICL will take on 55 staff presently employed by the council's Information Systems Services, on their existing conditions of service.
Roger Metcalfe, director of information systems at the Highland Council, explained the benefits: 'We can bring in new systems more quickly than on our own and make savings on our own budget. The annual benchmarking, which is a feature of the contract, will ensure the charges and quality remain competitive.'
The ICL outsourcing team will be based in the council HQ in Inverness and report to the information systems board through a new best value team, being set up in the chief executive's office and headed up by Metcalfe. In conjunction with KPMG, a best value model has been agreed for the contract. Under the model, ICL is committed to provide The Highland Council with best value throughout the term of the partnership.
Philip Wilson, managing director of ICL's outsourcing unit, added: 'The Highland Council has to provide services to 208,000 people over an area of 10,000 square miles. This partnership, the first Scottish local government contract of its type under the private finance initiative, will generate the resources to allow The Highland Council to acquire new systems and put in place an infrastructure of technology services delivered throughout the Highlands. We look forward to providing value-for-money services and helping the council to exploit technology and improve its services to the people of the Highlands.'