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Workstream 4: make our infrastructure and systems modern, secure and interoperable

As we enable residents to use our services online, give staff the best tools, and make better decisions with data, we need modern infrastructure too. This means systems that talk to each other, highly reliable hosting and platforms, the best of commodity technology and modern, cloud-based and API-driven architecture.

To do this, we need better oversight over our technology estate, robust governance, and standards and policies that are clear and easy to follow. 

Our intended outcomes for this workstream are that:   

  • connectivity is great for both residents and staff wherever they are on our estate 

  • we have full control over the data in all of our back office systems, and are able to extract and analyse that data to improve services 

  • staff are not physically constrained in any way as to where or how they access systems and data 

  • we have a clear architectural vision and roadmap 

  • we have a cost-efficient and resilient technology estate, centrally managed and regularly reviewed to prove value for money 

  • our people have a streamlined, intuitive and seamless experience of line of business systems. 

To do this, we will:  

  • carry out a programme of connectivity improvements, increasing bandwidth across all our sites  

  • develop a clear architectural vision for all council technology systems, working towards a small number of specialist systems supported by shared components that provide common functions once, integrated through APIs, using cloud and Software as a Service solutions wherever possible 

  • fully map our systems, technologies and assets, allowing us to prioritise improvements and meet common needs more easily 

  • build a cloud hosting platform so that all services can use a corporate platform and not need to procure their own hosting 

  • migrate all our major services to the cloud (and smaller ones if it makes financial sense) 

  • build a full picture of the carbon footprint of our technology estate, then embark on a greening programme to reduce that footprint and help make the council more sustainable 

  • write new interoperability standards so that we do not have to commission suppliers to help with complex integration

  • build integration points and automation between systems where a lack of interoperability means significantly worse services for residents and can take a lot of time for staff to deal with 

  • put in place new governance for all technology development, centralising hardware and software management in the digital team, removing all ‘shadow IT’ and ensuring that all changes are aligned with the overall digital and technology direction as well as allowing the council to get a grip on total technology spend 

  • review and refresh all back-office systems against this blueprint, helping service areas transition to modern, cloud-based technology that is disaggregated away from few, large suppliers to many smaller ones and with specialist services built in-house 

  • fully review and refresh all existing technology policies, ensuring the deal between the council, its residents and its staff is clear 

  • deliver an ongoing portfolio of improvements to council systems, corporate technology and removal of sub-optimal or paper-based council processes, prioritised on a clear roadmap 

  • use cross-government open platforms like gov.uk Notify to reduce the cost of common needs like text messaging.