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IT AND THE REVIEW: ACC WARNS SERVICES AT RISK

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The Association of County Councils said today that the Audit Commission report on IT identified a possible risk to ...
The Association of County Councils said today that the Audit Commission report on IT identified a possible risk to local services by the transition of IT systems to new authorities.

ACC review co-ordinator Tina Day said: 'Across local government as a whole, systems failures could quickly lead to public inconvenience, frustration and disaffection with local authorities.

'Most importantly, computer systems failing in areas such as social services and education could potentially lead to incalculable human damage to some of the most vulnerable in our society.'

Although recognising the possible opportunities identified by the Audit Commission for information technology development offered by reorganisation, the ACC believes the significant upheaval and cost may jeopardise any benefits.

'To manage the risks of new system failure, networks currently in use will need to stay operational until their replacements are fully commissioned,' Ms Day said.

'Using the Ernst & Young model, transitional costs for IT alone could be in excess of £300m. This far exceeds the £50m savings a year thought possible by the Audit Commission through improved management.'

Information technology has made a key contribution to county council's efficiency and effectiveness and local government must strive to ensure this is not lost by reorganisation.

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