ICT Strategic Review
In September 2015 Castlerigg Consulting were commissioned to undertake a strategic review of Lambeth Council’s ICT Service.
The brief was to undertake a holistic, whole system assessment of the current operations of the corporate ICT service against drivers for change in Lambeth Council and wider best practice in terms of local authority ICT provision in order to understand whether the current service model was able to provide the right capability and capacity to meet the council’s current and future business requirements.
An objective ‘root and branch’ review was requested which would enable the council to assess its position in terms of its use of people, ICT applications, infrastructure, information and assets. We engaged with a wide range of business stakeholders to both inform and shape our understanding of current and future needs. There was an emerging ambition within the council to achieve a single ‘digital front door’ for service operations, improve productivity and achieve customer-centric service delivery. There was also an aspiration to drive open data standards and practices in the council to provide greater access information, anywhere and at any time. Castlerigg’s review was well timed in anticipating and addressing these drivers for change and proposing the ICT capability required to meet a digital approach to service delivery.
Our report defined the service design principles a new model should be guided by to create and closely control the council’s ICT capability and to drive transformation plans for the council. The review also identified a number of areas where capability needed to be strengthened or created in the new delivery model.
A new detailed, commoditised model of service delivery was recommended which Lambeth Council are now implementing.
"I have been enormously impressed with the professionalism and skillsets that Castlerigg have displayed throughout their engagement. They have actively listened and understood our unique organisational context and drivers and tailored their approach and solutions accordingly. I have not hesitated to recommend them to others based on my experience!"
Julian Osgathorpe, Director of Business Transformation, Lambeth Council
At Castlerigg we utilise a six-point checklist to assess ICT operations in local authorities which provides the strategic evaluation criteria for our assessment of an ICT service:
- Service Excellence: getting the basics right and providing reliable and stable customer service
- Business Focus: helping the Council achieve its current and future business outcomes
- Effective Stakeholder Management: learning to influence key opinion formers and building trusted relationships
- Technology Innovation: Exploiting current assets and embracing emerging trends
- Enabling Transformation: Building a track record of supporting technology enabled change
- Service Agility: The ability to be flexible and responsive to business needs
It is essential within any organisation for Information Governance to be seen as a strategic enabler in achieving internal and external service integration, rather than a constraint. What this means is that decisions on what information can be shared are not always taken in the context of the wider needs of the customer or indeed the council.
Within local authorities there is a growing emphasis on the need to achieve meaningful service integration both internally and with partners. There are a number of challenges associated with this. In many local authorities, information and technology infrastructure resides in vertical service silos with applications that have evolved disparately over time rather than being a need-focused, designed architecture. Solutions to integrate service delivery can often use existing systems and processes as a fixed starting position, creating ‘workarounds’ which can be inefficient in terms of workflow and access to information. One recommendation of our review was an Enterprise Architecture (EA) type approach to application and information infrastructure development. What this means is that there is no overall ‘design authority’ in place to strategically advise and direct corporate management on the design and development of the information and technology architecture.