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LGC AWARDS FOR EXCELLENCE: SHORTLIST FOR IT TEAM OF THE YEAR

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Ealing LBC ...
Ealing LBC

Ealing LBC's auditors, KPMG, commended the good practices employed in Ealing's implementation of its corporate integrated financial information.

A huge team effort over two years involving co-ordinated corporate working has delivered IFIS across the council with minimal disruption, alongside necessary fundamental restructuring of business processes.

Integration of several operational systems with IFIS has streamlined the flow of financial information. It has also dramatically cut lead times for payment processing by eliminating manual re-entry.

Departments now control their own processing which has removed a level of communication between themselves and their creditors.

A matrix team structure incorporating director level support enabled departmental boundaries to be transcended, allowing a corporate view to predominate.

Highland Council

The Highland Council and ICL Outsourcing have entered into a 10-year partnership for the provision of IS/IT services. The arrangement brings a radical improvement to the quality of IT systems and services and their cost performance.

The partnership is delivering systems and services to support strategic goals and agreed objectives. Achievements and benefits include:

- A clear focus on business requirements

- New systems

- Improved services

- Reduced costs

- Annual, independent benchmarking

- The flexibility to change the specification as needs change.

The contract has resulted in cost reductions of 20%, allowing the council to acquire new systems and improved services within demanding cost reduction targets.

Knowsley MBC

Knowsley MBC's IT Division employs more than 40 staff with expenditure of approximately£5 million a year. As well as addressing its external profile, the IT Division has made significant strides within the council, offering a high quality service in which other departments have real confidence.

A two-year service development plan is in place aimed at creating an environment in which the IT Division will thrive while facing the challenges presented by change. A customer care training plan has been implemented for all staff.

New customer support managers will ensure that the IT Division takes responsibility for all the services it provides. As well as meeting the needs of staff throughout the council, the community information programme emphasises Knowsley's aim to equip the people of Knowsley with easy access to information technology.

Liverpool City Council

As the use of Information Technology Service networks was increasing, and as it was not possible to increase the staff resources, the procurement, installation support and hardware maintenance services in particular were becoming increasingly difficult to manage. The service offered was not acceptable (45% within target with a three-day resolution period) and the pressure on staff to perform was affecting moral. It was decided to enter into a Desktop Framework Agreement with a third party supplier for procurement, installation, support of all desktop equipment and corrective hardware maintenance.

The contract covers all items of IT equipment - more than 15,000 items at 680 different locations. It offers two levels of service, with initial response times of four and seven working hours. By managing the contract effectively, the service has now peaked to 99%.

Newham LBC

Newham is developing an innovative IS/IT strategy which not only meets the council's needs, but provides a model for wider operation across all agencies working in east London.

The strategy will enable it to retain its existing systems, which are proven and cost-effective, while developing new systems to service the needs of its customer services operations, located in local service centres and a centralised call centre.

The council is focusing on the needs of the citizen, but there is a need to go beyond the council.

The Health Action Zone for East London includes four councils and the East London Community Health Authority, NHS trusts and general practitioners. The HAZ has a specific 'improving access' theme, led by Newham. The partners will share ideas and exchange know-how by developing mutual support.

Award sponsor- MDIS

'For the third consecutive year MDIS is proud to be supporting the LGC awards by sponsoring the IT Department of the Year category.

We are now all working in the new world of best value and it is interesting to review the criteria used by the judges to draw up the shortlist. The local authorities that made the list were the ones who demonstrated that their IT systems and support services were driven by users' needs and that, while costs were important, the cheapest was not necessarily the best. The judges were looking to see what value the councils and their customers obtained from what was being spent.

Best value has also provided a focus for changing the traditional supplier/user relationships and developing partnership networks. From its long and continuing association as a local government supplier, MDIS has consistently found such networks to be the basis for delivering real value, from IT investment, to both the authority and its customers.

The delivery of customer value will continue to determine the fixture success, or failure, of every organisation in the future, be it in the private or public sector. It is clear that councils will want to develop new ways of enabling their citizens to be better informed than they are now as well as enabling them to obtain services much more easily. MDIS is committed to working with local authorities to achieve these objectives by developing products and services which meet their needs.

We look forward to working with our customers to assist and help them harness IT as they continuously improve the provision of their services.'

Malcolm Fowler, public sector group director, MDIS.

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