Camden and Islington councils have revealed a proposal to consolidate their IT teams into a single shared ICT service by April 2016 in a move to save £4m in costs.
A spokesperson for the councils told V3 that the plan is to reduce the 300 technical staff employed by the councils and form a joint team of 250 IT workers who will work across both organisations.
This reduction in staff will inevitably cost some workers their jobs, but councillor Andy Hull, Islington’s executive member for finance and performance, described the proposal as a way to save money in the face of widespread government cuts.
“Islington and Camden are coming together to harness digital technology so that we can deliver services in a way that suits local people and saves us precious money at a time when the government continues to cut inner city councils to the bone,” he said.
The ICT service is being presented as a way to combine expertise, knowledge and best practice from both councils, thereby offering a more responsive and integrated way to deliver services to local people.
The councils said that the plan will save £4m a year and that they have ambitions to save up to £185m between them by 2018/2019 as deeper government cuts take place.
Councillor Theo Blackwell, Camden’s cabinet member for finance and technology, explained that the councils already have an established history of working together, so consolidating their IT teams is a logical move.
“It makes perfect sense to come together to provide an improved service at a lower cost. In the future, the joint service may also be able to generate income for both councils through selling its combined expertise,” he said.
Both organisations still need to come to an official decision to proceed with the proposal. This will be addressed on 9 September at Camden Council and on 24 September at Islington Council.
Diving efficiency appears to be high on the agendas of local councils. But while Camden and Islington appear to be consolidating their IT teams, other councils are taking a different approach to cost-cutting. Peterborough Council has opted for cloud services to bypass costly and inefficient legacy IT.