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Swansea councillors don't like outsourced IT

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Councillors in Swansea are reportedly ruing the day their cabinet voted to outsource their IT supply and support. Local paper The Evening Post reports that councillors are now complaining that the system costs more and does less since being outsourced to Capgemini.

IT staff at Swansea protested vigorously over plans to outsource the support system, as reported at the time by El Reg. They warned that the move would lead to a less effective service and lost jobs, but their complaints were overruled as the council's cabinet voted to go ahead with the £83m Capgemini contract.

Now that the new system is in place, Councillor Mike Hedges says the email system is so unreliable he has switched to using his Yahoo! account for council business. He said email notifications of shut-downs of up to 24 hours are now a weekly occurrence.

Under the terms of the contract, Capgemini was to overhaul the council's existing IT systems and working practices as part of an "integrated programme of business process re-engineering and technology transformation".

This was to be followed by a new call centre and access to local authority services via the net. But The Post reports the plans have been scaled back because of rising costs.

Councillor Vanessa Webb said her experience of the help desk was "absolutely dreadful". She told a council meeting that she no longer used the service as it was repeatedly unable to resolve her queries.

She said: "I never bother to ring the help desk any more. There is no point. If I have a problem, I do not log it and just go away and come back later to see if it has sorted itself out.

"I know councillors who are not particularly confident with technology but have been encouraged to use the new computer system. They are now struggling because it is so bad."

Another councillor complained that the call centre workers do not even know what a councillor is, and still another said one support worker did not know where Swansea was.

El Reg is awaiting comment from Capgemini. ®

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