Peterborough City Council to recruit new digital chief and plans to offer services to other local authorities

Peterborough City Coucil is to appoint a new assistant director of digital services to streamline its IT with plans to offer services to other councils and even local businesses.
This week's online city council Extraordinary Employment Committee meeting.This week's online city council Extraordinary Employment Committee meeting.
This week's online city council Extraordinary Employment Committee meeting.

The councill is to appoint a new Assistant Director of IT and Digital Services following the cancelling of its current Serco ICT contract at the end of September.

At an Extraordinary Employment Committee online meeting this week (Tuesday, August 25), Sue Grace, Director of Corporate & Customer Digital Services said: “The proposal to appoint a new Assistant Director of IT and Digital Services was agreed at Cabinet.

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“The new role is part of our joint strategy to bring together our IT systems which we’ve been working to achieve over the last twelve months.

“It will build a single IT organisation for both Peterborough City Council and Cambridgeshire County Council.

“This new post will establish the overall direction and management of the combined IT and Digital Service working with the IT Heads of Service.

“The role will lead the IT team to deliver the most cost effective and efficient IT and Digital services to support our drive to improve efficiency, reduce costs and transform services within the organisations and across the public sector in the region. It will also allow us to offer our IT Services to other councils which is another way we can offset costs”.

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Cllr Mohammed Jamil said: “I welcome this appointment and the moving away from services provided by Serco, which is something we have been talking about for a long time.

“However, the dangers and the pitfalls are that we might make this new role more expensive than it was when we were with Serco.

“In terms of the salary for this new role and the price we were paying for Serco services, can you really say that we will be making savings and also are we going to TUPE over the Serco staff, or is it our intention to start with a blank canvas?”

Ms Grace answered: “The decision to pay for this role across two councils was made with exactly that in mind.

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“Just to give you an example, our colleagues in Adults and Children’s Services each have a shared IT system across both councils rather than two separate IT systems as has been the case in the past.

“So, in terms of procurement we can provide a single system of IT across all departments of both councils, rather than the two completely separate IT systems that they have been working with previously.

“The other way we want to deliver an efficient and cost-effective service is through this new role of Assistant Director of IT and Digital Services.

“At the moment we have two teams of IT operatives working separately and we’d like to bring those teams together for the spring of 2021, with this role playing an important part in the complete restructuring of IT services across the two councils.

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“We will TUPE over the staff from Serco starting from October 1 and so, yes, I am confident there will be cost-effective saving”.

Cllr Sam Hemraj asked: “You’ve already mentioned that, if successful, this new IT Service will be offered to other councils, but have you considered offering it to other businesses?”

Ms Grace replied: “I certainly think that reflects the ambition of Cllr Mohammed Farooq – who is Cabinet Member for Digital Services and Transformation.

“We’ll start by getting the services across the two councils right and then, when we’re confident with what we can offer to others, we won’t limit our ambition.

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“If we can offer a service that is financially viable to others, then yes we will look to do that”.

Members agreed unanimously to approve the appointment of the role of Assistant Director of IT and Digital Services and appropriate remuneration.

The council will advertise the role with immediate effect with the salary costs will be shared equally with Cambridgeshire County Council.