Member Article

£278m bad IT bill “could be kindest cut"

An IT boss believes cash-strapped councils could save almost £300m every single year simply by buying better IT.

Research by software company Orcuma - released just days after Chancellor George Osborne announced local government cuts the Chair of the Local Government Association believes will “stretch essential services to breaking point” - shows councils in the company’s native North East spending an average of £5.5m per year on software technology.

If this pattern was repeated across the UK’s 152 county councils, unitary authorities, London boroughs and metropolitan districts it would mean an annual national local government IT bill of £836m which Orcuma co-founder Paul Mitchell believes councils could cut as much as a third by simply through better IT procurement and by buying locally.

He said: “Time and time again I’ve seen councils accidently over-spending on expensive software solutions which aren’t designed with their needs in mind and which they end up using to a fraction of their capacity and potential.

“The irony is in the North East in particular there are a wealth of innovative companies who could work with them to develop bespoke solutions to their software needs for a fraction of the price – giving them much more effective systems while delivering exceptional savings.

“Not only could better software lead to further savings through better organisational efficiency, buying locally could lead to all sorts of knock-on benefits in terms of boosting business rates and creating jobs, further financial rewards from licensing the software to other authorities or even setting up a spin-out business partnership with the developers.

“With the Local Government Association reporting that local councils have to find £10bn of savings in the coming years buying better IT could easily be the kindest cut of all – saving as much as a third from IT overheads without depriving local people of a single service”.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by John Hart .

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