The Audit Commission inspection team gave the service one star because whilst the council provides some services electronically to the public, its disparate and poorly linked systems make it unable to achieve maximum advantage from the opportunities offered by IM/IT in meeting community expectations.
'The council has a vision for modern service delivery which includes electronic access for all. The council has committed itself to a demanding timetable and made some positive progress. However, although some funding has already been secured , it still needs to determine how it will find the remaining funds.'
The inspection report highlights a number of key strengths:
* There is strong commitment to delivering improvements.
* The council is already taking steps to address identified areas of weakness.
* User satisfaction is improving.
However, inspectors also found weaknesses:
* Poor telephony systems are hampering public access to services.
* Limited corporate control and coordination of IM/IT assets results in inefficient use of resources.
* The council achieves only average overall IM/IT performance when compared with other councils
To help the service improve, inspectors made a number of recommendations, including:
* The council needs to make an early decision about how it is going to secure the remaining funds required to deliver the aims and improvements in information management and information technology.
* Whilst the council has set a target for achieving top quartile performance for electronic service delivery capability, it needs to ensure that it clearly identifies other key measures that it will use to assess and drive performance improvement.
Information management and information technology services are provided by the corporate IT division and nine portfolio area IT support teams. In 2000/01 the service cost£2,165,000.£1,312,000 related to the corporate IT division, and the portfolio areas accounted for the remaining£853,000. The council allocated increased resources of around 30 per cent to meet IM/IT needs in 2001/02.