Red tape endangers e-targets

Many local councils will find it hard to meet the targets for e-government because their procurement processes are too long-winded. According to Richard Broad, regional director for local government at Oracle, IT procurement rules are slowing down the modernisation of local services.

“While many are on track with their e-government targets, the ones that have left it late may find it a struggle to purchase and install new equipment in time,” he said. Many councils are opting to upgrade their IT infrastructure in order to provide an integrated online service to their residents. “Local authorities are looking at systems that will support their future business rather than their legacy systems,” explained Broad.

Councils such as Haringey in north London have opted to outsource their financial systems, hoping to shave between 3% and 6% off running costs.

These will then be ploughed back into online service delivery. “This is an important step to meeting our e-government targets,” said Lisa Wills, project manager for Haringey Council.

The tender to run the council’s financial systems initially attracted 36 bids, with Logica winning the contract. The procurement procedure was a lengthy one, said Rob Herson, account manager at Logica. “But we spent so long talking to Haringey that the personal relationships necessary to operate successfully are already in place,” he said. The contract is worth £13m over 10 years and will go live in June 2002, but until it is operational it will not cost Haringey a penny.

The implementation replaces a UNI2000 payroll and HR system, with financial, HR and payroll components of running on a Hewlett Packard Netserver, hosted in Logica’s data centre in south Wales.

Related reading