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Trio kill off shared IT service

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A shared IT service between three London boroughs has collapsed.

Camden, Haringey and Islington LBCs have had the service since 2016 and last July agreed a revised ‘lite’ model with shared infrastructure, investment and savings but without management by a joint committee.

But now all three partners will re-establish separate services from 1 January 2019.

A Haringey cabinet report, using similar language to the other boroughs, said: “It is now clear that the three councils have different local priorities and approaches with regards to ICT and digital services.

“It is therefore no longer possible or practical to implement a shared service or ‘lite’ model, as envisaged. This means that the proposed ICT and digital shared service can no longer be implemented, and it is necessary to revert to local operations at pace to maintain integrity of service.”

The equivalent cabinet report in Camden, which hosted the shared service, said savings had been estimated at £6m a year to be split evenly across the three authorities.

But the change from the fully integrated shared service to the ‘lite’ model “sought to consolidate the savings initiatives already agreed” but at only £2.4m.

Richard Olszowski (Lab), Camden’s cabinet member for finance and transformation, hinted at the problems that brought down the partnership when he told last week’s cabinet meeting: “When different organisations come together you face different cultures and objectives and that is true in local authorities and business as things don’t work out as planned, but this has not been harmful to us.”

Staff had remained employed by their boroughs and were expected to move to the three new services.

The report said: “This will require a pragmatic transition from the shared service. The transition will be undertaken at pace and will be incremental to facilitate a managed change for Camden and its staff.”

 

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