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Agenda Item No

 

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Scrutiny Committee (Corporate Resources): 24th January 2012

 

Report of the Director of Finance ICT and Property

 

Potential Merger of the Education ICT Team with Corporate ICT

 

Purpose of the Report

1.             To update Members on the proposed merger identified as part of the Task and Finish Group report.

Recommendation

1.             That Members note the contents of the report.

Reason for the Recommendation

1.             To provide an explanation for not progressing with the merger identified as part of the Task and Finish Group report.

Background

2.             The Task and Finish Group presented a report to the Corporate Resources Scrutiny Committee on the24th January 2011 to consider the impact of the economic downturn on the Council and its services.

3.             One recommendation of the Group was to “Consider the merger of the schools IT service into the Council's ICT Division to achieve 10% savings.”

4.             A number of meetings have now taken place between the respective Heads of Service and involved members of staff from both teams, service accountants and members of the BPR team.

5.             The Schools ICT Unit currently has 12 FTE posts (1 vacant) and the Corporate ICT Team has 45 FTE posts. The service accountants indicated that 10% savings of the joint budgets after existing commitments have been taken into account would be in the region of £190,000.

6.             Although it has been agreed by the two Heads of Service that a merger would help to improve services to schools and may generate some savings from doing so, the level of savings is insufficient to warrant a merger of the two teams at this time.

Relevant Issues and Options

7.             To achieve the levels of savings proposed would require losing approximately 8 members of staff or find other savings from existing contracts or through improved performance. It would not be possible to provide the current contracted level of support service to schools with the loss of this many staff and the service to corporate users would also be severely impacted.

8.             The service accountants had limited budgets to consider as much of the budget of the Education team is already committed to pay for ongoing software and hardware maintenance contracts.

9.             Most primary schools now have a Service Level Agreement with the Education ICT Team which they pay for and which can only be renegotiated once a year.

10.        The current post that provides training for the Schools Information Management System (SIMS) is vacant and the SIMS Team Leader will be taking maternity leave from the end of February. It may be possible for the ICT Trainers to take up some of the responsibilities for SIMS training until other arrangements can be put in place.

11.        Preliminary discussions have been held with Bridgend Council to ascertain whether or not it would be possible to provide a joint SIMS Support Service, but no definite conclusions have yet been reached.

12.        Corporate ICT and the Education ICT Team will continue to work closely together to improve services to schools.

13.        The Education Consortium of which the Council is part will come into being in September of this year and the provision of support services to schools is likely to be done at a regional or even national level in future. It seems pointless in merging the teams now only for them to be split apart again in the future.

14.        The provision of services at a regional and national level is also part of the ICT Strategy for Schools that has been produced by the Association of Directors of Education for Wales (ADEW).

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment and Climate Change, if appropriate)

15.        There are no resource implications as a result of not merging the two teams.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

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

Crime and Disorder Implications

17.        There are no crime and disorder implications that arise as a result of this report.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

18.        There are no equal opportunities implications that arise as a result of this report.

Corporate/Service Objectives

19.        To exercise robust financial management and explore all opportunities to improve efficiency and service quality including collaborative working.

20.        To implement good staff management practices and ensure there are sufficiently trained staff to provide services to meet customer needs.

21.        To deliver cost-effective support and service desk functions to monitor performance, meet customer needs and communicate effectively.

22.        To work with internal and external partners to deliver a range of ICT projects and enhance service provision.

Policy Framework and Budget

23.        This report is for information only.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

24.        Officer consultation only.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

25.        Corporate Resources Scrutiny Committee.

Background Papers

Vale of Glamorgan Schools ICT Strategy

ADEW ICT Strategy for Wales

 

Contact Officer

David Vining, Head of Strategic ICT

 

Officers Consulted

Paula Ham                 Head of Service

Mike Bumford            Service Accountant

Gemma Jones           Service Accountant

Chris Habberley        ICT and Data Manager

Graham John ICT Infrastructure Manager

Jendy Hillier               Strategy Team Leader for Curriculum Development

 

Responsible Officer:

Sian Davies, Director of Finance, ICT and Property.