Agenda item

Project Applications (Standing Item)

To consider new applications submitted (if any).


a)         ICT Refresh  (Item 14 on Agenda Supplement)


The Proforma B was tabled.


The Head of Finance was invited to join the meeting to clarify the terms of the proposed procurement.


The ICT Project Manager presented the report which sought the release of £89,000 from the 2010/11 refresh budget to upgrade key hardware at the Thetford site to provide greater supportability, resilience and growth for the ARP.


The Chairman asked the Head of Finance to explain this procurement and also to inform Members about the possibility of obtaining RIEP funding towards these costs.


The Head of Finance explained that as Forest Heath already had the funding approved they would procure the hardware for the project to allow Breckland and East Cambs to obtain release of funds to contribute to the costs in proportion to the partnership share.  This meant that the ownership of the asset would appear on Forest Heath’s balance sheet, although the other partners would use it under the partnership agreement, and Breckland would continue to support it. 


He added that he had been in discussion with Improvement East and he had been advised that a bid for funding was unlikely to be successful as the ARP was already a well established partnership that should be able to fund its ICT refresh itself.  He therefore advised that it would not be a good use of resource to prepare a bid.


It was confirmed that:


a)                 the remaining £106,164 was sufficient to meet the remaining 2010/11 refresh requirements; and

b)                 that detailed costing to identify the exact budget required, with any changes to the released amount, would be reported back to the Business Improvement Sub-Committee.


The Chairman sought assurance that the money for the Members’ refresh was still available.  The existing equipment was seven years old and would need replacing after the next elections.  He had asked the Chairmen of the Overview and Scrutiny Commission and the Audit Committee to set up a joint panel to look into this matter, to ensure a transparent process and to inform the public of the advantages and improvements that the new equipment would provide.


RESOLVED to release £89,000 to procure a VMware solution for Thetford/ARP, allowing migration of data and application prior to year end, and also provide the ability for growth.


b)         Upgrade of LAGAN Software for Customer Contact Centre (Item 15 on Agenda Supplement)


Lagan version 6 was currently used by the Council.  This version would not be fully supported from 2011.  The ICT Project Manager presented the report which sought the release of £30,000 to upgrade Lagan to version 8.


The Senior Business Improvement Officer pointed out that it was not just the Call Centre that used Lagan; there were about 190 users in the Council.  It was also linked to the existing telephony system which was to be replaced. 


The latest version of Lagan could also provide an ICT Service desk to replace the current Steria Helpdesk, at negligible cost.


The Policy and Performance Manager checked if the risk of longer call lengths, due to the Lagan upgrade, had been considered, as this may have an impact on current call Centre performance should it occur.  It was advised that the likelihood of this happening was low.


The Chairman asked if the update to the telephony system would take place at the same time and the ICT Project Manager advised that although that was achievable it would be easier if the Lagan upgrade happened first.  The telephony project would have to take account of the upgrade to ensure compatibility. 


Lady Fisher reiterated that the telephony procurement must be in line with the Council’s future proposals.


The Senior Accountant Capital and Treasury clarified that the amount requested (£30,000) did not include the £3,500 required to deliver the IT service desk, and did not form part of the current funding request.


RESOLVED to release the £30,000 to support the Lagan upgrade.