Feeds

Finance watchdog warns about being 'seduced' by IT partnerships

Don't fall for smooth talk

SANS - Survey on application security programs

The Audit Commission says councils must be not be "seduced by the warm language of partnerships".

Local government IT partnerships intended to overcome the drawbacks of traditional contracts, often fail to live up to expectations, an Audit Commission report (pdf) reveals.

In an examination of so-called strategic service delivery partnerships (SSPs), long term contracts through which councils buy services from a private sector supplier, the commission found that many SSPs have yet to generated all the intended benefits. These include greater flexibility, economies of scale, innovation and profit sharing.

The report, published yesterday, found that the scope of SSPs varies. Some bundle a range of different services together, for example back office services such as IT, human resources, or financial administration, alongside front line services such as revenues and benefits or other customer services.

Other partnerships focus on a single service area related to very specialist support service, including highways maintenance or school support.

Although some councils said they had benefited from investment in infrastructure, such as an upgraded IT system, others found it difficult to quantify the benefits arising from the SSP.

A key issue identified in the report is that technically complex services such as IT are less amenable to long term specification due to the pace of technological change.

The Audit Commission concludes that councils should enter into these complex partnerships only if they have the high level of expertise needed to get good value for public money, as circumstances change over a long time.

Commission chair Michael O'Higgins warned that all partnerships are risky and two out of every three fail. Local authorities "should not be seduced by the warm language of partnerships", he said.

"Robust option appraisal before being committed, designing flexibility into the arrangements and strong contract management from the start, are the vital ingredients for success."

Alongside its report, the Audit Commission published a framework aimed at helping local government to get better value for money by managing their existing partnerships more effectively, or by weighing the pros and cons of entering a new one.

The framework, which identifies issues that councils will need to consider at the initiation, procurement and contract management stages, draws on the experience of councils that have pioneered SSPs, as well as existing technical guidance.

This article was originally published at Kablenet.

Kablenet's GC weekly is a free email newsletter covering the latest news and analysis of public sector technology. To register click here.

3 Big data security analytics techniques

More from The Register

next story
Putin tells Snowden: Russia conducts no US-style mass surveillance
Gov't is too broke for that, Russian prez says
Lavabit loses contempt of court appeal over protecting Snowden, customers
Judges rule complaints about government power are too little, too late
Don't let no-hire pact suit witnesses call Steve Jobs a bullyboy, plead Apple and Google
'Irrelevant' character evidence should be excluded – lawyers
EFF: Feds plan to put 52 MILLION FACES into recognition database
System would identify faces as part of biometrics collection
Edward Snowden on his Putin TV appearance: 'Why all the criticism?'
Denies Q&A cameo was meant to slam US, big-up Russia
Record labels sue Pandora over vintage song royalties
Companies want payout on recordings made before 1972
Ex-Tony Blair adviser is new top boss at UK spy-hive GCHQ
Robert Hannigan to replace Sir Iain Lobban in the autumn
Judge halts spread of zombie Nortel patents to Texas in Google trial
Epic Rockstar patent war to be waged in California
Reprieve for Weev: Court disowns AT&T hacker's conviction
Appeals court strikes down landmark sentence
German space centre endures cyber attack
Chinese code retrieved but NSA hack not ruled out
prev story

Whitepapers

SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.