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Agenda Item No. 4

 

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Democratic Services Committee: 10th February 2016

 

Report of Managing Director

 

ICT Update for Members

 

Purpose of the Report

  1. To inform Members of any new developments or issues within the ICT service and how they relate to the services provided to them.

Recommendation

  1. That Members note the content of the report.

Reason for the Recommendation

  1. To ensure Members are made aware of any developments to their ICT Service to the wider Council.

Background

  1. IT has previously been agreed that the Democratic Services Committee's terms of reference would include responsibility for overseeing the Council's approach to Member Development, that the former Member ICT Working Group be not reappointed and that a Members' ICT update would be a standing item on the agenda for meetings of the Committee.

Relevant Issues and Options

  1. Issues with staff recruitment and retention continue to affect the service. Already in 2016, two staff have left to join the Welsh Assembly, one to the private sector and one more will be retiring at the end of March. This represents a 10% turnover in the first quarter of this year and it will be difficult to replace the staff lost with others of a similar calibre as we are no longer competitive in the current jobs market.
  2. A number of meetings have taken place with the other Councils in the South Central Consortium, (RCT, Merthyr, Bridgend, Cardiff and the Vale) to investigate the opportunities to create a shared ICT service across some or all of the five Councils. If this goes ahead, it will help to alleviate some of the staffing problems being experienced across the public sector and should generate considerable savings for the Reshaping Services programme. However, it has become apparent that ICT support for Members is handled differently across the Councils.
  3. It is hoped to release a tender to replace the hardware that runs the Oracle E-Business suite which provides most of the core systems used by the Council, such as finance, HR, Payroll and the contact centre. The hardware is eight years old and has been excellent over that period but does now need replacing. Consideration is also being given to have the system hosted in the Cloud by Oracle, but full costs will need to be confirmed before taking a decision.
  4. The Council is investigating the use of Cloud technology for our office productivity tools such as word processing, spreadsheets and presentations. Microsoft Office is the current supplier provided onsite by our own servers, but increasingly we are looking to host these systems on other hardware in the Cloud. We are currently investigating both Microsoft Office 365 and Google for Work, both of which can be accessed from anywhere as long as internet access is available. This would make it easier for staff and Councillors to access e-mails and documents whilst out of the office or at home.
  5. Reference was made at the last meeting regarding the use of tablets for Members and the cost of doing so and the potential for adverse publicity for spending money on these devices at a time of financial austerity. However it has been confirmed that if the tablets were used by all Members and paper copies were no longer produced, the cost of the tablets would be covered by the savings in printing costs. As a result, a number of devices are being investigated as to their suitability for use by Members, including tablets, chrome books and touchscreen laptops that can be used as a tablet.
  6. Work is ongoing to look at improving the availability of some of the core Council services, such as e-mail and access to the internet and a report was taken to Corporate Management Team earlier this month to outline some proposals. However, all of the proposals had considerable cost implications.
  7. Members will be aware that meetings of the Planning Committee have been webcast for approximately twelve months. Prior to the end of the current Municipal Year, a report on the existing arrangements (including details of the number of "viewings") and whether any expansion of the service is considered appropriate / feasible will be submitted to Members.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

  1. There are no legal implications that arise as a result of this report.

Crime and Disorder Implications

  1.   There are no Crime and Disorder implications for this report.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

  1. There are no equal opportunity implications that arise as a result of this report.

Corporate/Service Objectives

  1. To exercise robust financial management and explore all opportunities to improve efficiency and service quality including collaborative working.
  2. To deliver cost-effective support and service desk function to monitor performance, meet customer needs and communicate effectively.

Policy Framework and Budget

  1.   This report is for information only.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

  1. As this is an internal matter, no consultation has taken place.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

  1.   Corporate Resources Scrutiny Committee.

Background Papers

ICT Update Reports to Democratic Services Committee

Contact Officer

David Vining - Head of Strategic ICT

Officers Consulted

Jeff Wyatt - Operational Manager (Democratic Services)

Responsible Officer:

Rob Thomas - Managing Director

 

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