Venue: Norfolk Room, The Conference Suite, Elizabeth House, Dereham
Contact: Committee Services Tel: 01362 656870
Apologies (Agenda Item 1)
To receive apologies for absence.
Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Chapman-Allen, Goreham, Millbank and Steward.
Councillors Darby and R Richmond were present as Substitutes.
Declaration of Interests (Agenda Item 2)
Members are reminded that under the Code of Conduct they are not to participate and must leave the room, for the whole of an agenda item to which they have a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest.
In the interests of transparency, Members may also wish to declare any other interests they have in relation to an agenda item, that support the Nolan principles detailed within the Code of Conduct.
No declarations were made.
Non-Members wishing to address the Meeting (Agenda Item 3)
To note the names of any non-Members who wish to address the meeting.
Councillors Bambridge and Wassell were in attendance.
To receive the report of the Leader of the Council.
The Leader of the Council presented the report which proposed additional ICT posts to meet the Council’s digital strategy which was a key part of the Corporate Plan vision.
The Head of Information & Customer Access explained the need for urgency. His responsibilities covered ICT, Customer Services and Communications and those three areas supported all of the Council’s other services. The aim was to improve IT which would in turn improve communications and provide more on-line services. The technology was available and the Council wanted to offer its customers options as well as providing a more streamlined 24/7 service. Some of the current processes in use by the Council needed modernising and that work would require a solid, robust and reliable ICT service. The current agreement with NCC did not meet those needs. The Interim IT Manager’s contract was coming to an end and there was an urgent need to get a new structure in place. Additional resources would give the Council flexibility.
The proposal was to change to the Structure set out on page 4 of the agenda. However, it was noted that the change from a shared Communications Manager to a single, place-based Manager was not part of the current proposal.
The proposed IT Manager would need a background in customer orientated services and be capable of architecture planning. There was concern that there would be limited candidates for that post. The .4FTE post was also likely to prove difficult to recruit to.
There was £925,000 in the budget already approved for the Transformation project. The proposal would use £310,000 of that money over the next three years to provide 3.4FTE wholly Breckland posts which it might be possible to share with Partners to reduce costs.
Councillor Carter sought clarification on what the new posts would be for and he was advised that historic issues would be addressed first as there was a backlog of projects. All the posts would be advertised immediately.
Councillor Borrett was concerned that the proposal would introduce an extra layer in the structure and seemed to indicate that Breckland was less efficient than South Holland.
The Head of Information & Customer Access explained that the two Councils’ IT contracts were very different. South Holland used Compass Point and they were helping with digitalisation. However, the Breckland agreement with NCC did not include any resource to cover that. NCC had indicated that they were not able to take on that project, whereas Compass Point was happy to take on extra work.
Councillor Borrett recalled that the Committee had recently improved an increase to the IT establishment and asked if that role was included in the 3.4FTE proposed. He was advised that that role finished in September but initially it would be in addition to those proposed in the report.
The Leader of the Council explained that the current agreement with NCC was not working well and it was therefore necessary to build in resilience to maintain the current service and enable capacity for change.
Councillor ... view the full minutes text for item 15.
Next Meeting (Agenda Item 5)
To note that the next meeting will be held on 18 March 2015 at 10.00am in the Norfolk Room, Conference Suite, Elizabeth House, Dereham.
The arrangements for the next meeting on 18 March 2015 at 10.00am in the Norfolk Room, Conference Suite, Elizabeth House, Dereham were noted.