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Tired of IT failures, government launches ICT Charter to boost local governments

A new ICT “Charter” has been launched that could see local authorities across the country expected to share details of upcoming procurements in order to promote collaboration.

Released by the Local Government Association (LGA), an organisation that aims to support and improve councils, it is part of the Local Government National Category Management in ICT plan, which was released yesterday.

The plan seeks to manage local government’s overall commercial engagement with the supply market in the form of a voluntary commitment.

Organisations involved will adopt a set of practices, including collaboration, information and resources sharing with the aim of strengthening the collective competitive position of local government.

Terry Brewer, divisional director of commercial, contracts and procurement at the London Borough of Harrow, drew up the document.

Brewer is also chair of the London ICT board, a programme that sees the 33 London councils collaborate and the LGA category lead for ICT.

“Nothing in the Charter restricts or undermines the sovereign autonomy of local authorities to make their own choices – adopting the Charter is itself a free choice and on which will lead to real benefits,” he claimed.

“We recognised that there will be times when each local authority has to ‘go it alone’ but firmly believe that the default choice for ICT should always be to seek collaboration,” Brewer added.

Those interested must pledge for predicted 20 per cent savings

Those who sign the Charter will pledge to do the following:

share details about planned IT procurements, renewals, projects where costs could be shared and instances where wider participation could drive technological or commercial innovation with other councils via the LGA’s National Programme Office

  • not extend contracts for more than a year prior to seeking benchmarking information from the Office to ensure a proposed deal ensures good value
  • always consider using collaborative means to meet requirements
  • to invite other authorities to collaborate on major ICT procurements, while also allow sufficient time to respond
  • ensure the internal governance of IT, procurement and resourcing are consistent with the principles of collaboration.

According to the document, those who commit could save 20 per cent (£100m) from current IT budgets.