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Leeds Council aims for IT integration nirvana

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Leeds City Council has awarded Novell a six year contract to completely overhaul its internal and external IT services as it approaches the government's end-of-2005 deadline for making eGovernment services available online. The value of the contract was not disclosed.

The council says the Novell contract is just one part of a much larger systems overhaul. Anthony Burnham, programme manager for Leeds City Council notes: "From a technical perspective, we have over 300 offices around the region with many different departments and found we were running up to 850 different applications across 140 servers."

According to Computer Weekly, as well as rolling out the Novell desktop and server applications, the council is updating 11,000 desktops and 300 applications, standardising on a single version of the Lotus Notes e-mail system and, as if that were not enough, trying to build a single Citrix server farm.

Once all the upgrades are complete, employees should be able to access a wide range of applications and information from a web browser, through a secure portal. This, council managers hope, will also allow staff to work more flexibly, from remote locations or outside normal office hours.

Currently, the eGovernment services are only available in pilot phase. We understand that initially housing maintenance contractors and Education Leeds, a company which manages schools and colleges in the region, will be involved in the pilot. Citizens will be able to apply for planning permission, council property or order leisure tickets online, the council said.

In related news, the London Borough of Hackney is retendering its IT outsourcing deal. The contract, worth £10m over five years, is on the table because the borough's current five year deal with Northgate Information Solutions is coming to an end, Silicon.com reports. Hackney says it is looking for bids from at least five, and up to ten, new suppliers.

More details on the Leeds announcement here. ®

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