SOCITM (Society of Information Technology Management)
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Camden transforms its ICT service and makes Gershon savings with help from Socitm Consulting

Socitm Consulting has helped the London Borough of Camden to transform its ICT service and redirect millions of pounds to support front line services. The ambitious transformation programme led by John Jackson, Assistant Director (Corporate ICT) has centred on reorganising Camden’s ICT service, previously the most devolved in the United Kingdom, and making it more focussed on customer service. Savings of £600k have already been realised in year one and from 2007/08 onwards over £1m per annum is expected to be freed up.

Camden’s decision to reorganise its ICT service followed recognition that achieving the next level of performance required greater integration and a stronger overall direction. According to Socitm benchmarking information, Camden’s ICT functions were the most decentralised in the UK. As well as inhibiting service integration and efficiency, this had considerable cost implications. The council considered outsourcing as a possible solution, but decided instead to keep the service in-house and restructure it in order to deliver corporate objectives more efficiently.

The reorganisation involves three separate service desks being merged into one and the consolidation of six separate technology teams into a single service. A new Commercial Services function has also been created to provide leadership on IT procurement across the Council and a new Strategic Programme and Change Management Office is undertaking the implementation of ITIL and dissemination of best practice for project management. Other changes under way include server rationalisation and migration to a SAN (Storage Area Network), network improvement plans and the introduction of desktop management tools.

Such a significant restructuring had attendant risks, and strong leadership and skilful management were needed to manage these risks, particularly when management resources were being stretched by the concurrent development of a revised ICT strategy and long-term road map. Camden were able to call on programme management support from Socitm Consulting, who have been involved in many previous projects for the Council, including developing business cases for mobile/flexible working and the adoption of ITIL service management.

The Socitm Consulting team at Camden was led by Liz Varga, a specialist in reconfiguring ICT services and aligning them with best practice in ICT service management. The Socitm consultants worked with Camden’s ICT management team to help establish the new organisational structures and governance arrangements and to articulate the rationale and drivers for centralising ICT. The work included the production of change proposals and associated documentation, support for the management team in internal negotiations, staff consultation (a highly sensitive issue in this context), recruitment and selection from both internal and external candidates, project review and risk management, financial planning to ensure budgets were managed professionally, and internal communications.

The delivery of this strategic programme has had immediate benefits and promises even greater benefits in the longer term. Gross savings of £600k have been realised in year one with over £1m per annum anticipated from 2007/08 onwards. Over the next five years the ambition within the draft IT strategy is to take £8-10m out of ICT operating costs from the review and redirect these at areas of priority.

Socitm Consulting’s Consulting Manager Doug Maclean comments: “Camden’s re-engineering of its ICT service is a model for other local authorities. The programme has focused on delivering a timely, clear and workable remit for the services of the new Corporate ICT function so staff could hit the ground running. Close co-ordination with Finance ensured that costs were controlled without compromising the delivery of operational services. Longer term, the vision is for Camden’s corporate ICT to be an enabling, transformative service. This is under-pinned by the adoption in the re-structure programme of methods for capability and capacity improvements, including ITIL service management, performance management and knowledge management.”

Further information

Vicky Sargent, Press Officer, Socitm; t: 0121 314 2974, e:  

Doug Maclean, Socitm Consulting; t: 0845 241 2773, e:  

John Jackson, Assistant Director (Corporate ICT), London Borough of Camden, 020 7974 1529,  

Notes to editors

Socitm ( ) is an association of ICT professionals working in and for local authorities and other public sector bodies. It is a leading authority on the effective application of ICT in local government, and provides information and advice through a growing programme of research, publications, conferences, training, and consultancy.

Socitm Consulting ( ) has grown rapidly since its launch in 1997 to become the consultancy most used by local authorities in the areas of e-government and ICT. It has completed more than 800 projects for over 300 different clients. Heavily involved in all aspects of e-government strategy, planning and implementation, Socitm Consulting carries out a wide range of other projects in the areas of benchmarking and performance management, partnership management, change management and technology management.

The London Borough of Camden ( ) is an inner-London borough with a population of approximately 220,000. Camden is extremely diverse – socially, economically and physically - incorporating business areas such as Holborn and Euston and residential areas such as Hampstead and Camden Town. Camden is a major employment centre but only 16% of local jobs are taken by local people and employment units are typically small. The Council is one of the largest employers in the area, with offices and depots reaching into every part of Camden, though overall less than 6% of Camden jobs are in public administration including Council and government departments. 











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