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London councils reveal joint IT jobs cut plan

Report outlines plans to cut 10 to 12 posts

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Westminster, Hammersmith & Fulham, and Kensington & Chelsea have said they will save £400,000 annually by axing a number of IT posts

In a document titled "Tri-borough proposals report: bold ideas for challenging times", the three local authorities outline plans to cut 10 to 12 IT posts "excluding schools' ICT support".

The councils first announced plans to merge into a "super council" in October, stating that this could generate savings of £50m to £100m a year.

Detailing plans for IT staff consolidation, the report says: "There is certainly scope for the consolidation of staff in IT, by merging similar functions and reducing duplication in some strategic functions. Not all of these are tied up in outsourced contracts either.

"There are currently IT separate teams providing IT desktop, application and network support to primary schools, totalling some 30 staff. It should be possible to provide the same or even better service with a single smaller team and less management overheads which will continue to meet the expectations of head teachers."

It goes on to say that strategy functions in each authority could be pooled around technical design, new technologies, collaboration and unified communications. It adds that while this is unlikely to deliver savings, it will assist with the formation of common direction of travel for converged services.

The document also points out that significant longer-term savings could be achieved if more uniformity of systems were sought in the future.

"Equally it is recognised that IT may give rise to significant upfront set-up costs as systems from the different boroughs are brought closer into alignment," it says.

"Westminster and Kensington & Chelsea, prior to the three borough merger initiative, had independently approached the market with a view to replacing their respective adult social care IT systems. However, in the light of achieving future savings and bringing IT systems within the three borough model together, the three boroughs are now investigating ways in which their market submissions might be better combined and also align with central London community healthcare IT systems."

The consolidation of IT forms a large part of the councils' plans, with the report detailing a planned reduction in data centres from six to two over three years. It says that Westminster and Hammersmith & Fulham are both following a strategy to shift to infrastructure free ICT provision and that this could help facilitate the reduction along with a migration to cloud services during 2013-15.

The proposals detailed in the report will be debated by all three councils separately and if approved by all authorities, the arrangements will be implemented later this year, starting with the provision of integrated services to schools in September.

This article was originally published at Guardian Government Computing.

Guardian Government Computing is a business division of Guardian News and Media, covering the latest news and analysis of public sector technology. To register, email james.longhurst@guardian.co.uk at Guardian Government Computing.

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