A STRATEGY FOR INFORMATION, COMMUNICATIONS & TECHNOLOGY

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01
-
02
-
02 10.00

Chief Execu tive

Old

116

1

Information and Communications Technology Fundamental Service Review Team

1st February, 2002

Public

Revised ICT Strategy

Decision

To approve a revised version of the ICT Strategy incorporating the points raised by the review team

None

Contributors:

Contact Officer:

Vic Smith, Head of Finance & I.T. Services

Chief Executive








Agenda Item No
4


Recommendations:

It is RECOMMENDED that the revised ICT Strategy be approved.






A STRATEGY FOR

INFORMATION,
COMMUNI
CATIONS &
TECHNOLOGY


IN


EAST DORSET

DISTRICT COUNCIL









October 2001


2


A STRATEGY FOR INFOR
MATION,

COMMUNICATIONS AND T
ECHNOLOGY


EXECUTIVE SUMMARY


To be completed following discussion by BV Review Team.

3

1.

INTRODUCTION

1.

Foreword

1.1

An Information, Co
mmunications and Technology (ICT) strategy
is needed to inform and guide the Council in the development of
its services. It seeks to answer three basic questions :

a)

Where are we now?

b)

Where do we want to be?

c)

How do we get there?

In addition, it seek
s to guide the Council in the development of
services and to support the Council’s strategic plan.

1.2

Whilst the changes in technology are relatively easy to
recognise it is less easy to determine what the organisational
and business implications of this new
technology might be. The
ICT Strategy therefore looks beyond the technology to identify
the business needs of the Council and how these might be
influenced and supported by the emerging technology. This will
enable the Council to shape the use of new techn
ologies for its
own business objectives rather than reacting to new
opportunities.

1.3

The District Council is an extensive user of information and a
very large proportion of its operations consist of collecting,
processing and transmitting information. Much o
f this
information remains paper based despite the large increase in
the use of ICT over the last five years.

1.4

Since 1994 the number of PCs within the organisation has
increased to an extent such that all staff, with one or two
exceptions, have access to a
personal computer. All terminals
have been replaced by PCs and the vast majority of the
Council’s staff are now dependent on their IT facilities to carry
out their jobs.

1.5

Despite all this progress the Council still relies on manual paper
systems for much of

its communications and it is this area which
is likely see the biggest developments in terms of ICT over the
next five years.


2.

Vision

2.1

The ICT Strategy has the following objectives :

a)

To enable the citizens and staff of East Dorset, and visitors to
the a
rea, to play a full role in the growth of the Information
Society.

4

b)

To encourage the use of customer oriented systems, based
on access to relevant, up
-
to
-
date information.

c)

To improve the efficiency and change the culture of the
Council through the pro
vision of effective, easy
-
to
-
use
methods of communication.

d)

To promote the use of ICT as a strategic tool to improve
existing services and to develop new methods of service
delivery.

2.2

National strategic objectives are also becoming more
widespread, for ex
ample, the e
-
government targets and the
National Land Information System, and the ICT Strategy will help
to inform the Council’s response to these initiatives.

2.3

The output from the ICT Strategy will therefore be instrumental
in informing the individual busi
ness plans of services, shaping
the Council’s ICT Development Plan and developing the ICT
support structure that the Council needs to carry out its business
in the 21
st

century.

3.

Business Drivers

Council Strategy & Key Priorities

3.1

The Council is in the proce
ss of developing a Community
Strategy and the ICT Strategy as set out in this document will
need to be reviewed in the light of the priorities agreed
between the Council, its partners and its citizens.

3.2

The Council does not have a formal Corporate Strategy
but it has
agreed a range of key priorities based around People, Places
and Prosperity. ICT will contribute indirectly to all of these
priorities through the support provided to the Council’s front
line services. In some areas however, ICT is itself a fron
t line
service and this aspect is likely to grow as electronic service
delivery expands. Specifically, key priorities PE2 (to promote a
better informed and responsible community through agencies,
organisations and individuals) and PE3 (to provide accessibl
e
services to residents and visitors) can be directly facilitated
through electronic service delivery. A contribution can also be
made to PL2 (to promote waste reduction, re
-
use and recycling)
through the expansion of electronic forms of communication and
storage.

Best Value

3.3

All areas of the Council’s activities are being systematically
reviewed over a five year period under the Best Value initiative.
This review process involves a fundamental analysis of the
performance and future direction of each service
. The output
from these reviews will be instrumental in informing the
Council’s policy planning process. The impact that ICT can
5

make in developing the Council’s services is an integral part of
this review process and the output from Best Value reviews wil
l
be an essential driver of the ICT strategy.

E
-
Government

3.4

Central Government expects local authorities to be making
increasing use of information and communications technology to
deliver services. Targets are already in place for the electronic
delivery o
f services by Government departments and have
been extended to local authorities through Best Value targets.
The national targets envisage 25% of all services to be
accessible electronically by 2002 and 100% by 2005.

3.5

In order to measure progress in achievi
ng these targets the
Government has introduced a new Best Value performance
indicator (BV157) to measure the number of transaction
processes being delivered electronically. The Council’s degree
of compliance has been measured using guidance prepared by
the

Society of Information Technology Managers (SOCITM); this
shows that 23.5% of services are currently being delivered
electronically.

3.6

The targets set out do not simply represent an exercise to
measure progress in providing services over the internet. The
e
lectronic government initiative seeks to achieve a “step
change” in the way that services are delivered, so that service
delivery is transformed to focus on the needs of the customer.
This will present a significant challenge in re
-
engineering
services.

Th
e Euro

3.7

Whilst the UK government has not yet given a commitment to
joining the single European currency (the Euro) the stated
policy is to be ready for its introduction should the decision to
join be taken. Any ICT strategy adopted by the Council must
there
fore incorporate the possible adoption of the single
currency and the impact that this would have. The principle
implications for the ICT strategy would be in terms of
information storage, systems development and hardware
purchasing.

Modernising Council De
cision Making

3.8

Modernising Council decision making is not simply about
changing the internal structures within the organisation. It
includes measures to increase participation in local elections
and other forms of communication with the local community,
suc
h as local referenda, consultation exercises or citizens’
panels. ICT can have a key role to play in developing processes
which will enhance the Council’s ability to carry out its more
general modernising agenda.

6

3.9

ICT will also be able to assist in the driv
e to streamline decision
making, by providing the information needed by officers to
exercise effective delegation of authority.

Exclusion

3.10

There is potential for major sections of the population to be
excluded from the benefits of the information revolution
,
whether this is because of poverty, lack of appropriate skills or
other social or economic factors. The Council will need to
ensure that its strategy for using ICT to enhance its services also
addresses the needs of those least able to benefit from these

new approaches.

3.11

One of the main challenges facing the Council is how it can
provide services to a remote rural population who find difficulty
in travelling to the offices at Furzehill. There are clearly major
opportunities to use information and communica
tions
technologies to address the issue of rural isolation.

Working Together

3.12

There is potential for the future review of both local government
services and boundaries. The creation of the Regional
Development Agencies will question the continuing need for
multi
-
tiered government in England and it is likely that at some
point in the future proposals for the extension of unitary
government will be resurrected.

3.13

The Government is also examining local government functions.
In terms of District Council services p
roposals are being
examined for the transfer of benefits to the Department of Work
and Pensions (DWP).

3.14

In responding to the e
-
government agenda the Council will also
need to ensure that service provision appears seamless to the
user. In order to achieve th
is the Council is working with other
local authorities and the private sector to develop a Dorset
portal.

Council Tax Levels

3.15

One of the key business drivers of the Council is the desire to
contain increases in Council Tax at, or below, the prevailing rate
of inflation. This policy would therefore support initiatives within
the ICT strategy which would reduce the cost of providing
Council services but at the same time may make it more difficult
to provide investment for ICT initiatives.

7

4.

Business Partners

4.1

Th
e Council’s business partners fall into three main categories :

a)

Government and Government Agencies

The Government has a substantial influence on the work and
objectives of local authorities in its role in setting national
objectives and targets. Much of

the Council’s business is
directed by Government and implementing these
objectives relies on information provided by and through
Government. The setting and monitoring of these objectives
may also be delegated to Government agencies such as the
Audit Comm
ission, District Audit, the Best Value
Inspectorate and the Benefit Fraud Inspectorate.

The Council may rely on one or more of these agencies to
facilitate work on specific issues, such as data matching to
combat benefit fraud, and will need to implement c
ommon
data exchange formats.

Other national objectives can only be achieved through
partnership working with other Government Agencies such
as the NHS and Health Authorities. This work will require the
exchange of information between the Council and its
pa
rtners.

b)

Other Local Authorities

The Council also works in partnership with other local
authorities at various levels. National groups, such as the
Improvement and Development Agency (IDeA), are
promoting a range of projects within which the Council is
p
articipating, including the National Land and Property
Gazetteer (NLPG), the National Land Information Service
(NLIS) and the National Electoral Register Hub (NERH). The
Council will also be working with the Regional Development
Agencies and the County and

Unitary Councils in the upper
tier where the exchange of information will be an important
requirement.

The Council will also be working with its neighbours and
other interest groups at a District Council level which will
also require information exchange.

Parish and Town Councils in the lower tier will also be
closely involved in the Council’s activities as part of the
Town and Parish Council Charter. The District Council may
be requested to act as a resource provider, for example in
the hosting of Town an
d Parish Council websites, although
managing such sights would be beyond the Council’s
resources.

8

Greater joint working in this way will assist in maintaining
common standards (for example, the use of consistent
domain names) and will contribute to a seaml
ess view of
provision for service users.

c)

Local Agencies and the Voluntary Sector

Some Council functions are discharged by other local
agencies such as Housing Associations or are assisted or
facilitated by voluntary groups. This may include initiatives
such as the joint mapping of geographical distributions e.g.
poverty mapping or property condition surveys.

In addressing the needs of these various groups the Council
will need to consider the best method of achieving effective
joint working. The Council’
s partners will need to be
identified and links provided to sources of information.

5.

Culture

5.1

Despite the dramatic spread of ICT throughout the Council there
still remains some resistance to using the technology to its full
potential which pervades all level
s of the organisation to varying
degrees. This may be due to either a fear of the new medium
through lack of familiarity or through a lack of appreciation of
the capabilities of the technology. At the other extreme
individuals are seeking to push the limit
s of what can be
achieved in quite unstructured ways, largely through a lack of
strategic direction and corporate standards and guidelines.

5.2

The ICT strategy for the Council has not been published since
1994 and no clear vision of where the Council is going

in terms
of its information needs and technology deployment exists.
Developments in recent years have been characterised as
“technology by stealth” and whilst this has been useful in
introducing new ideas and technology it has led to an
unstructured and h
aphazard approach which invariably has
resulted in unforeseen problems and sometimes expensive
reappraisals of requirements.

5.3

This essentially laissez
-
faire attitude to ICT has allowed users
nearly unconstrained freedom with regard to their PCs and,
althoug
h policies do exist to restrain users, monitoring has been
minimal and disciplinary action rarely taken. To address this
issue policies and procedures need to be freely available and
widely publicised, using the intranet, for example. The
recording of what

policies users have seen and agreed needs to
be addressed. Ideally training sessions or briefings need to take
place annually on topics such as IT security and data protection,
with follow up action for absentees.

9

6.

Training

6.1

The development and adoption of

a longer term ICT strategy
would do much to promote the effective deployment and use of
information systems and technology within the Council. This
would need to be supplemented by clear, published standards
and guidance advising users on how new systems
which are
subsequently introduced should be used.

6.2

The second key element in developing the effective use of the
Council’s information systems is training. This has also been a
haphazard process in the past with users, in many cases,
developing their skills

through experimentation. Training in
basic computer skills and applications is essential before
substantial gains can be made in the effective use of the new
information systems being developed. Ideally an intensive
period of training covering the corpora
te information systems
should be identified for each new employee joining the Council.

6.3

This issue has been addressed through identifying a specific
officer for organising this training and adopting a technology
based training approach. However, the take up

of the training
has not been as effective as anticipated and the approach to the
training provision will need to be reviewed.

7.

Organisation

Decision Making and Monitoring

7.1

The Finance & Resources Committee sets the broad policies and
considers recommendatio
ns from the ICT Working Party, a joint
working group of officers and Members representing all
departments of the Council. The Working Party is able to
consider issues in depth and from a wide range of perspectives.
One of the primary roles of the Working P
arty is to agree and
monitor the Council’s IT Development Plan. The Working Party
also carries out an important review function through the
examination of Post Implementation Reviews of new systems.

7.2

The introduction of a business case for any major investm
ent,
whether hardware or software, should be considered by the ICT
Working Party. This allows examination and prioritisation of
both corporate and individual service initiatives.

7.3


The overall work of the IT Division is monitored through the
Finance & Resou
rces Overview & Scrutiny Committee, which
examines performance indicators and progress against agreed
action plans.

7.4

This structure encourages collective commitment to a common
purpose, inter
-
departmental communications and the
commitment of senior manageme
nt to ICT.

10

Management and Implementation

7.5

The responsibility for ICT is based within the Chief Executive’s
Department under the Head of Finance & ICT. Day
-
to
-
day
management of the IT Division is the responsibility of the ICT
Manager, with the Division being

broken down into IT Support,
Systems Development and administration.

7.6

The Division’s main focus is on the support of the ICT hardware
infrastructure, the back office and corporate applications and
the support and development of in
-
house applications. An
ad
visory service is also provided to Members and officers.
Whilst analysis of business processes in undertaken when
designing new systems there are currently no resources to carry
out systematic business analysis. This would cover not just
system working but

service, inter
-
service and inter
-
organisation
working and its provision should be considered as an aid to
improving working practices throughout the Council using ICT.

7.7

The IT Support section is responsible for installing and
supporting the Council’s ICT h
ardware. As more and more
reliance is placed upon information and communications
technology to deliver essential services, to internal and external
users alike, greater emphasis must also be placed upon the
means to support this infrastructure. The ability

to remotely
access individual PCs from the IT Division has been
implemented. This has already allowed a hardware and software
inventory to be compiled and will also be used to install
upgrades and other software without the need to be present at
individua
l machines.

7.8

In order to improve the diagnostic and fault fixing capabilities of
the IT Support Section IT Helpdesk software needs to be
acquired, or developed, and implemented. The ideal solution is
an integrated service desk providing data on fault progre
ss over
the Council’s intranet. The system would also be capable of
managing the Council’s ICT assets and software licensing. The
main benefits of such a solution would be improved
monitoring
of faults, improving the rate at which faults are fixed, providi
ng
data which would allow the wider introduction of Service Level
Agreements and providing data for benchmarking purposes.

7.9

The Systems Development section encompasses a range of
skills, including Geographic Information Systems (GIS), Internet
and Intranet
development, visual basic programming, change
control and user training.

Disaster Recovery

7.10

The Council does not yet have a formal business recovery plan
to inform its response to an emergency which would put its
services at risk and this is being developed

as a matter of
priority through the work of the Council’s Risk Management
11

Group. The Group has completed its initial work but the
completion of the plan is dependent on securing the resources
to implement the ICT elements. Decisions on additional funding

are required from Members to finalise the Plan.

Acquisition Policy

7.11

The Council sources its ICT requirements in a number of ways.
Major systems are sourced either through third party suppliers
or in
-
house development depending on the most cost effective
so
lution. In
-
house developments are also examined for their
commercial potential and partnership arrangements may be
entered into with private sector suppliers in appropriate cases.

7.12

Hardware is acquired from external providers through a process
of open compe
titive tendering in line with the Council’s
Standing Orders. In order to respond to the convergence of
information and communications technology the IT Division took
responsibility for the Council’s telephone systems from March
2000. This included the inst
allation of the Council’s new digital
switchboard in July 2000.

7.13

The budgets for PC hardware have been traditionally distributed
to service managers to be managed individually. However, this
has proved an ineffective way of ensuring that PC hardware
remains

up to date and responsive to the changing needs of
service managers. The budgets for PC hardware were therefore
centralised within the IT Division in April 2000 and a programme
of PC replacement developed.

7.14

Hardware purchases have, in the past, included bu
ndled
software which is only licensed for the particular machine (an
OEM license). On the replacement of the hardware the required
software has often been loaded from previously purchased
software. This has therefore resulted in more software being
install
ed on machines than the number of licences would allow,
which could result in legal action being instituted against the
Council for illegal copying of software.

7.15

Some steps have already been taken to address the issue of
illegal software. An inventory of so
ftware which is currently
installed on the Council’s computers has been undertaken and
compared with the licenses which are held by the IT Division.
All unlicensed software identified by this exercise is being
either removed or licences procured. However,
due to changes
in the licensing arrangements for Microsoft products an upgrade
strategy needs to be developed to ensure that the Council
continues to be licensed in the most cost effective way.

7.16

Budgets for standard software packages and the licenses
needed

to operate and use them are centralised within the IT
Division. Budgets for specialised third party packages are
distributed to service managers. The centralisation of budgets
12

for corporate software has enabled a more structured approach
to be taken but t
here is still a range of software in use which is
steadily being standardised. Variations in the versions of
software in use make it more difficult for IT Support staff to deal
with problems with users’ PCs and can also impact on software
development being

undertaken in
-
house, where older versions
of software will either not work at all or not be able to utilise all
the features of the in
-
house software development.


13

2.

INFORMATION STRATEGY

8.

Core Values for Information

8.1

Information has the following core val
ues :

Security



To ensure that only those entitled to view or
manipulate information are able to do so.

Availability



To ensure that information is available to
Members, Officers, External organisations and
the public.

Mobility




To enable information t
o be easily exchanged
without being changed in context or format.

Access



To ensure that all information required,
irrespective of its source, is readily accessible
by those who wish to use it from any
reasonable location.

9.

Data Protection

9.1

Data about indiv
iduals is protected under the provisions
contained in the Data Protection Act1998. Under the 1998 Act the
individual may request :



a description of the data being processed



the purposes for which it is being processed



a description of any potential recipie
nt of the data



information on the source of the data



copies of the data held

The data referred to can be in electronic or paper form.

9.2

However, the request must be in writing, a fee may be payable
at the discretion of the local authority and the local autho
rity
may seek to confirm the identity of the individual. The local
authority must respond within 40 days.

9.3

The requirements of the 1998 Act places a potentially heavy
burden on the Council in being able to respond to any requests
received. Data held relatin
g to individuals will need to be
identified for all systems and procedures for responding to
requests established. Some of this work will fall within the remit
of the Security Policy.

9.4

Data will also need to be classified according to its level of
confident
iality. This can be based upon the confidentiality levels
set out by the e
-
envoy :



Level 0

No confidentiality



Level 1

Protection for unpublished private information

14



Level 2

Protection for sensitive private information

10.

Information Management

10.1

The basis of Ea
st Dorset’s Information Strategy relies on the
Council identifying those items or areas about which information
needs to be held. At the most basic level this data falls into two
categories


people and property. The long term goal is for
information to be

held only once, with the technical architecture
supported by the IT Division providing users with access to that
information, wherever it might be stored. Each data item would
need to be assigned an owner whose responsibility would be to
ensure that the i
nformation is kept up to date.

10.2

There are different approaches to achieving the objective of
holding a single source of data. For example, a data catalogue
could be compiled which identifies all types of data held for
different purposes in different systems

and an overall plan
designed to implement the goal of single databases for each
item of data. The main drawback to this approach is the level of
investigation required before any progress can be made. An
alternative approach would be to examine major indi
vidual data
sources, such as property, and develop new systems or enhance
existing systems on an incremental basis around an overall
strategy of centralising the data sources.

10.3

There is already pressure from national projects to use the
British Standard BS7
666 for recording property details and this
has been adopted as the standard for the Council. Work is
currently in hand to ensure that all the Council’s property data
complies with the standard.

10.4

Many of the developments involving property data are being
un
dertaken as part of the GIS project and other property data
sources, which are currently excluded, could be linked into this
development. This would enable the GIS system to be the
central method of accessing all property data, providing a
common interface

for a range of systems relying on property or
other geographically related data.

10.5

Most of the information on staff is held within the Personnel
Division in either computerised or manual form. It would
therefore make sense to centralise this information wit
hin a staff
database which can be made available for other systems to
access on a controlled basis. Some of this data is currently held
within the Committee Management System and the potential to
expand this to provide a more comprehensive solution needs t
o
be examined.

10.6

Many of the Council’s systems will be specifically organised to
store information on the District’s residents. A single source of
data on residents will be both complex to establish, because of
the varied nature of the information to be reco
rded, and
15

potentially illegal, because of the provisions contained within
the Data Protection Act. Therefore it would only be appropriate
to store basic details common to all systems, such as name and
address. This would reduce some of the complexity and p
rovide
a solution to one of the problems of ensuring that data is kept up
to date to the benefit of residents.

10.7

Looking to the future more systems will be available to residents
on
-
line as the electronic government initiative is developed. In
order to provi
de individualised data, for example the balance
outstanding on a Council Tax account, it will be necessary for
users to prove their identity. This should ideally be addressed
through national or regional initiatives such as UK Online or a
Dorset
-
wide infor
mation portal.

10.8

Physical documents received or created within the Council
could also be managed in a similar manner through such means
as document image processing. This is discussed more fully in
the next section.

10.9

New data will need to be collected for cor
porate information
needs under the Best Value initiative. Performance indicators
are to be developed to measure the quality of life in the area
and this will undoubtedly require new systems or developments
to existing systems, for the gathering of relevant

information. As
yet the exact requirements are unknown.

11.

The Paperless Office

11.1

The “dream” of the paperless office is an old one and can be
traced back over ten years. The introduction of electronic mail
from 1995 has made some headway against the tide of p
aper,
particularly in the provision of the facility to transmit
attachments electronically. This has only been widely practical
with the standardisation of the Council’s word processing
packages to Word, undertaken in 1998. This trend is likely to
continue

naturally as staff become increasingly accustomed to
using email.

11.2

However, large volumes of paper are still circulated within the
organisation. There are two main problems with this method of
transmission :

(a)

the need to store all these additional copie
s of information;
and

(b)

maintaining the currency of the information through
frequent updating.

11.3

The continuing development of the intranet and internet will
enable large swathes of this paper to be eliminated. A major
impact has already been achieved with

the development of the
Corporate Management System and the associated information
on the Council’s website.

16

11.4

The principle elements upon which future work to the Council’s
intranet could be undertaken to decrease the flow of paper are :

a)

Staff Handbook

b
)

Standing Orders

c)

Financial Regulations

d)

Guidance on insurance and financial affairs

e)

News at 4HN

f)

Chief Officer Group minutes

g)

Flexitime records

h)

Timesheet information

i)

Council plans and policies

11.5

This list is by no means exhaustive but thes
e projects could
significantly reduce the volumes of paper being transmitted and
stored within the organisation.

11.6

Developing the Council’s Intranet is vital in supporting a joined
-
up approach to service provision. If staff are to provide a face
-
to
-
face inf
ormation service to the general public then it is vital
that they have all the information needed to deal with the
enquiry readily to hand. This is best supplied through access to
computer records of information being held on individuals and
the intranet w
ould be the logical way of delivering this
information.

11.7

The second strand of this development is to increase the use of
document scanning within the Council. Limited use is being
made of this technology so far, primarily within the Revenues
Division. The n
ext main area to be implemented is likely to be
within the Planning Department with the deployment of a
replacement planning system.

11.8

Not only would electronic storage of scanned documents allow
information to be much more widely available to individuals bu
t
storage requirements could also be dramatically reduced.
There is no department of the Council which could not benefit
from some form of document management system. The
extension of document management to central filing systems
could have significant ben
efits in improving access to corporate
information.

11.9

The ability of document management to be used in a workflow
context cannot be ignored. Again, all departments could benefit
from this type of approach and the use of workflow in sorting
and distributing c
orrespondence and official documents for the
Council as a whole should be seriously considered. However, it
would be impractical to scan all incoming documents as much of
the post is made up of junk mail and periodicals.

17

12.

Access to External Information

12.1

Incr
easing use of the Internet is being made by managers as
part of their normal work. The recent work undertaken to the
Council’s Internet facilities has improved the security of this
medium and speeded up access times. The expansion of the use
of the Interne
t for research and information purposes is
dependent on developments being undertaken by third parties
(e.g. Central Government) but given the fast pace of
development in this area the use of this facility is likely to
increase significantly in the near fu
ture.

12.2

Expanding the availability of internet access brings with it the
need to actively manage the use made of the facility by staff. It
should be the objective of the Council to provide the facility to
all members of staff but this brings with it two othe
r issues:

(a)

monitoring staff use of the facility

(b)

improving the capacity to handle the additional traffic.

13.

Information and Employees

13.1

Changes in communications technology are making the
prospect of employees working outside of the office
environment more and m
ore of a practicality. There is a growing
argument for removing the need to provide office
accommodation for employees on a partial or even full basis. If
this were achievable it would reduce the need for expensive
office space and the environmental impact

of commuter
journeys.

13.2

The technology has reached a point where video conferencing is
a practical and economically viable proposition. To achieve
effective home
-
working the employee would need reliable
communications (using telephone and video conferencing

facilities in the home) and access to the information and systems
needed to carry out their work. The development of the Internet,
Intranet and DIP facilities will be a major building block in
achieving the level of access to corporate information which t
he
employee needs to work remotely, either at home or by using
mobile computing devices. Access to the Council’s information
systems through remote links is already practical, although
more work needs to be undertaken in developing the security of
the medi
um.

13.3

It should be a feasible target to identify a suitable pilot group
within the Council to test the practicality of remote working on a
part time basis within the next two years.

13.4

Members could also benefit from the same technology to reduce
their dependen
ce on the Council’ offices. The only electronic
access facility enjoyed by Members is the PC set up in the
Members’ office or equipment which they own themselves. In
18

order for Members to benefit from improved information
technology they must first possess
the means to access the
information. This would inevitably mean the provision of IT
workstations to Members for use in their own homes which
brings with it the political problem as to how the provision of
such “free” facilities would be perceived by the ge
neral public
as well as the technical problem of security of access.
Consideration needs to be given at an early stage to the issues
involved in providing Members with IT equipment in order to
carry out their duties following the deployment of the new
comm
ittee minutes system.

14.

Information and Customers

14.1

The advent of widespread Internet use over the coming years
will require a radical shift in the way that the Council does its
business. With the advent of innovations such as interactive
digital television pr
oviding Internet access, the prospect of the
Council doing a significant portion of its business through this
medium will become a practical reality. This general approach
to dealing with customers is known as electronic government.

14.2

A great deal can be ach
ieved to provide the basic information
which a customer requires on the Council’s website. Basic
enquiries (such as the Council Tax property banding or
planning applications affecting a property) could be accessible
directly by the customer on a 24 hour pe
r day 365 days per year
basis without the need to telephone or visit the Council offices.
This would reduce the level of customer enquiries which need to
be dealt with by officers, thus increasing efficiency and cost
effectiveness.

14.3

Information can also be
tailored to the needs of a particular
customer. Entering simple information, such as a post code,
should enable a range of information to be displayed relevant to
a particular visitor (e.g. their local councillor, MP, nearest
library or the day the rubbish

is collected). This can be taken
further to identify the specific individual and build up a picture
of their activity to identify information which they may find of
interest (e.g. their current balance on Council Tax or the
progress of their planning appl
ication). In order to achieve this
it would be necessary to introduce some form of authentication,
as discussed in paragraph 10.7.

14.4

Those who do not have access to the Internet can also be catered
for through the use of such devices as public access kiosks
or
PC links in libraries. These facilities could be provided in a
range of sites (e.g. libraries, parish and town councils, schools,
leisure centres and supermarkets) to encourage the greatest use
possible of the Internet information facilities.

19

14.5

The Counci
l has recognised the need for improving the
communication skills of its residents by becoming involved in
the establishment of the Community Learning Centre in
Wimborne. Similar projects may be of benefit in the other urban
centres of Ferndown and Verwood
if suitable funding can be
secured. Consideration might also be given to facilitating
training for other groups, such as business employees in the
main industrial areas of the District.

14.6

If video conferencing, DIP and printing capability were linked to
the
facility then remote interview and document exchange
would also be a practical possibility.

14.7

Taking the Internet concept a stage further the Council can
provide the facilities for the customer to supply information
required for various services through the
use of interactive
forms. This would allow a customer to provide details of a
benefit application or a planning application directly from their
own point of access, using credit card facilities to make any
payments due. The payment of any bills through the

Internet
using credit cards could be accommodated into the Council’s
site although there may be some resistance to the use of this
medium because of security fears.

14.8

It must also be borne in mind that business users will be another
type of customer and for

those companies interested in
relocating to the area a great deal of information could be made
available to inform their relocation decisions. Directories of
local businesses have already been compiled manually which
provide information about which busine
sses are located in a
particular area and the products and services they provide. This
information can also be of relevance to other businesses which
may require inputs which are the outputs of neighbouring
businesses.

15.

Information and Democracy

15.1

The democr
atic process itself could also be enhanced through
the use of Internet technology. The ability to use the medium to
interact with the customer makes it ideal for consulting the
public with regard to the Council’s plans. The Council could set
up a local dis
cussion forum where residents are able to discuss
issues of local importance and place their views on bulletin
boards, providing valuable feedback on current issues which
could be used in the formulation of policy.

15.2

Taking this a stage further it would also

be feasible for residents
to engage in interactive questioning of the Chief Executive,
Leader of the Council, Committee Chairmen or other officers of
the Council on
-
line. This might be most beneficial when
particular topics are under consideration, such a
s the annual
budget or local planning policies.

20

15.3

Facilities could be introduced at Council meetings for electronic
voting, although this would require a degree of investment in
the infrastructure of the Council’s meeting rooms. It would also
be feasible to
broadcast the Council’s public meetings over the
Internet so that local constituents could see their elected
representatives in action without the need for a journey to the
Council’s offices. The final step in the enhancement of the
democratic process woul
d be to enable electronic voting at
local elections.

21

3.

ELECTRONIC GOVERNMEN
T STRATEGY

16.

Definition

16.1

The Government measures the progress to achieving electronic
government by using Best Value Performance Indicator 157
(BVPI 157). This indicator is defined a
s
“the percentage of
interactions with the public, by type, which are capable of
electronic service delivery and which are being delivered using
internet protocols or other paperless methods”
. Within this
definition “
other paperless methods”

includes the t
elephone
where the receiver of the call is able to resolve the callers
request
at the time of the call
; if necessary, by reference to an IT
system.

16.2

The Government’s focus is clearly on the citizen when
measuring progress towards electronic government (e
-
go
vernment). However, full e
-
government should also cover
relationships with suppliers and therefore encompass the issue
of procurement. This is recognised by separate targets set for
Government departments for procuring goods and services
electronically.

17.

Vi
sion

17.1

It is our vision to provide a comprehensive, widely accessible,
and secure electronic informational and transactional facility for
the citizens and businesses of, and visitors to, East Dorset; and to
share information and resources between the area's
public
service providers to enhance efficiency and effectiveness by
2005.

18.

Strategy

18.1

The Council will need a strategy to guide the introduction of
these new facilities. This strategy would need to address four
key pillars of providing full electronic governm
ent:

a)

The establishment of a secure intranet and linked databases
that reaches across all departments and enables them to
work together. The intranet should also have resilient, high
capacity interfaces with public sector agencies and local
and regional
bodies.

b)

The second requirement is the delivery of services that are
tailored to the needs of citizens and are accessible via the
internet in a convenient and secure form. The aim should be
to provide a one
-
stop portal that is always open and caters
for
all aspects of the relationship between government and
the citizen.

c)

The third requirement is the creation of a government
electronic marketplace where departments can advertise
22

their requirements, authorised suppliers can bid and post
tenders for high v
alue purchases and public servants can
purchase low value goods quickly, efficiently and at
centrally negotiated prices.

d)

The final pillar is digital democracy. Councils and politicians
should use the Internet to make themselves more accessible
and accou
ntable to the voters, evolve new methods of
consultation and to eventually offer on
-
line voting.

18.2

The County and District Councils of Dorset, together with the
unitary authorities of Bournemouth and Poole, will work with
partners from the broader public sec
tor to provide widely
available, internet
-
based access to the area's public services
and comprehensive information for citizens, businesses and
visitors.

18.3

The prime focus of this will be to supplement the operability of
Council websites by the creation of a

Portal acting as a point of
entry to e
-
Dorset services. The portal will allow personalisation
of users' views of information and services and provide easy
links to partners' and other public and voluntary sector
information, providing delivery over multip
le channels.
Information will be built around life events and interests
wherever possible rather than organisational structures. The
portal will handle the authentication of users, enabling partners
to securely provide personal information where requested
and
to have a high level of confidence in the authenticity of
transactions initiated by citizens. It will provide the technology
to draw information from, and supply information to, partners'
databases for presentation to users and for transmission to and
from national portals (e.g. UK
-
Online) using government
interoperability protocols (e
-
GIF).

18.4

The Councils will endeavour to work closely together to develop
existing and new systems and interfaces, working also with
public and private sector partners. The
partners will work
together to provide a shared pool of knowledge and resources
to increase efficiency, effectiveness and best value. Other
partners will be identified to help build a community
infrastructure to eliminate social exclusion.

18.5

The further deve
lopment of the strategy must allow sufficient
flexibility for all organisations to choose their own pace of
implementation dependant on resources and their own
priorities.

18.6

In order for the portal to function effectively each council will
need to electronic
ally enable its back office systems. This work
represents a significant challenge to this Council, where
resources are severely constrained.

23

18.7

The Council’s longer term aim is to refocus its major systems
around the electronic service delivery ethos to achi
eve the
necessary step change in the way that services are delivered to,
and perceived by, the citizen.

19.

Targets

19.1

The Government has set two targets for the implementation of e
-
government:

(a)

that 25% of all services should be available electronically
by 2002;
and

(b)

that 100% of all services should be available electronically
by 2005.

19.2

In setting these targets the Government anticipates that
electronic delivery will not simply represent the electronic
enablement of existing processes; it should represent a “step
ch
ange” in service delivery which vastly improves the citizen’s
perception of the service. This step change is expected to be
achieved by redesigning working practices to meet the needs of
the citizen rather than those of the service provider.

19.3

Whilst the Cou
ncil is confident that it can meet the target of
100% of services being electronically enabled by 2005 this
would only represent making existing services capable of
electronic delivery; it would not allow the step change in service
delivery that the Govern
ment anticipates. Resources available at
the Council are insufficient to achieve this by the 2005 deadline
and this will not be achieved unless substantially more revenue
support is received from Central Government.

19.4

Progress against the target is being mea
sured using guidance
issued by the Society of Information Technology Managers
(SOCITM). The formula for measurement covers six processes
across all services which can be electronically enabled:

(a)

the provision of information

(b)

applying for a service

(c)

booking a
facility

(d)

paying money to the Council

(e)

receiving money from the Council

(f)

consultation and feedback.

19.5

Using these definitions the Council’s current level of
achievement against the target is 23.5%, compared with the
national average of 29%.

24

20.

Security and Privac
y

20.1

The Council is currently reviewing its security policy with a view
to achieving compliance with British Standard BS7799.
Procedures for ensuring compliance with data protection
legislation are also being reviewed.

20.2

In examining the potential to deliver se
rvices by electronic
means the issues of security, privacy and authentication are
paramount, particularly where transaction processing is
involved. The Council has not yet carried out an evaluation of
the various options for achieving these goals, although

measures such as digital signatures and data encryption will
need to be examined. The issue will be a key factor in the
implementation of the e
-
Dorset portal and will need to be
agreed with the Council’s various partners.

21.

Access to Service Strategy

21.1

As par
t of the consultation on Best Value the Council surveyed its
Citizens’ Panel in June 2000 on their requirements and
expectations for ICT services. Based on the panel results18% of
East Dorset residents already have access to a PC with a modem
at home and 1
6% have a home connection to the Internet.
Although only 11% currently have digital TV over 80% of
respondents expect to have it in the future. There is therefore a
significant proportion of the population who either have access
or intend to have access to

electronic forms of communication.
This would indicate that the electronic delivery of Council
services would be a practical proposition.

21.2

The respondents to the Citizens’ Panel survey indicated that
environmental issues, community information, planning
in
formation and Council news and information would be the
principal areas of interest on a Council website.

21.3

National survey data for October 2001 indicates that :

a)

40% of people have a PC with internet access;

b)

35% of people had used a PC to get informat
ion or advice or
buy products in the pervious year;

c)

50% of people think that new technology will make it easier
to deal with their council; and

d)

65% had last used the telephone to contact their council
compared to 1% who had used email.

In the light o
f these finding the East Dorset Citizens’ Panel will
be surveyed again in 2002 to establish local trends.

21.4

The primary access facility planned by the Council revolves
around its own website facilities and the development of the e
-
Dorset portal. Both of thes
e projects envisage wide access
25

through a variety of devices, including
digital television,
wireless 3
rd

generation devices and personal digital assistants,
e
-
mail, PC/Kiosks and voice.

21.5

The Council already accepts credit and debit card payments for
all ser
vices over the telephone. Transaction processing on the
website will require the upgrading of the Council’s Cash
Receipting system to provide the necessary interface. The
Council will need to decide whether to use its own in
-
house
resources to upgrade the
system or whether to procure a
suitable replacement system from a third party supplier.

21.6

Whether or not the e
-
Dorset portal project is successful, the
Council will explore the options for using the facilities of other
public bodies, such as the County Counc
il and the police, to
make its services more accessible.

21.7

It is impractical and too expensive for the Council to invest the
resources required to develop its own call centre. If such a
facility is to be provided it will be dependent upon the success
of the
e
-
Dorset portal. However, following the introduction of the
digital switchboard the Council will examine the desirability
and feasibility of providing menu access for callers to reach the
required destination or to access relevant information through
their

telephone. As a precursor to this information on current
call traffic and types of enquiry will need to be obtained.

21.8

Providing up
-
to
-
date customer information to the person
receiving the call will enable a much improved service to be
provided. A Customer
Relationship Management system is
envisaged to be part of the e
-
Dorset portal but this will, in turn,
need to rely on other facilities, such as document management
systems, to provide the information required. The introduction
of a corporate document manag
ement facility will be an
essential pre
-
requisite to providing an improved service to
telephone callers. However, the procurement of such a facility
will be difficult given the limited resources available to the
Council and imaginative solutions may be req
uired.

21.9

The new switchboard has allowed the introduction of direct dial
facilities to speed up access to specific services and will also
allow more comprehensive monitoring of call handling. This
monitoring will allow the Council to identify areas where
cus
tomer call handling can be improved.

22.

Procurement

22.1

Electronic procurement could help to streamline the whole
process of procuring goods and services. It is already feasible
to introduce procurement cards for use by staff in ordering low
value goods, although

the audit and security aspects would
need to be considered carefully. The introduction of such
facilities should be considered as a priority.

26

22.2

More complex procurement involving tendering can also be
electronically enabled and work has already been done at

a
central Government level on this through Tender Trust. This
process enables tender details to be automatically delivered to
relevant suppliers and for tenders to be submitted
electronically. Such a process may also require changes to
standing orders or
financial regulations. The Council already
uses some centralised processes, facilitated through
Government, to vet suppliers and should now consider whether
this should be extended to electronic tendering.

23.

Appointment of E
-
Champions

23.1

The Council has appoint
ed an officer e
-
champion who regularly
attends meetings of the senior management team and the ICT
Working Party, a joint Member and officer group. Following the
restructuring of the committee system, in response to the Local
Government Act 2000, the Counci
l will appoint an e
-
champion
from among its elected representatives.

24.

Timescale for Services to Become Available

24.1

Information, customer consultation and feedback will be priority
areas for all services and these issues will be addressed by the
first quarter
of 2002. Addressing transaction processing for
relevant services will require work to the Council’s cash
receipting system, which is unlikely to be completed before
2003.

24.2

The Council has already addressed some high volume services,
such as Planning, where
weekly planning applications are
available for viewing online. However, the re
-
engineering of the
planning system will require substantial in
-
house resources and
will not be completed before the end of 2002.

24.3

Other high volume services such as Council Tax a
nd Benefits are
provided on older legacy systems. The Council will need to
examine options for making these services fully available
electronically, although some processes could be enabled using
the existing legacy systems.

24.4

Online access to personal infor
mation could be provided once
security and authentication issues are resolved. Since this is part
of the e
-
Dorset portal project these facilities are unlikely to be
realised until 2004.

25.

Opportunities to Deliver Early Results

25.1

Information, customer consultat
ion and feedback will be priority
areas for all services and these issues will be addressed by
Spring 2002. The ability to provide a wide range of informational
and communication facilities covering all of the Council’s
27

services will greatly enhance the ra
nge of delivery channels
available to the customer.

25.2

The digital divide is also being actively addressed to ensure that
no group is disadvantaged by the new facilities which are
becoming available and the Community Learning Centre,
programmed to open in Aut
umn 2001, will provide a much
needed benefit to this group. Access for the more remote rural
areas will be addressed through the e
-
Dorset portal project.

26.

Scope for Decommissioning Existing Channels

26.1

The main channels of service delivery currently employed a
re
correspondence and telephone; face
-
to
-
face service delivery
being limited by the relatively remote location of the Council’s
administrative facility. As more use is made of delivery by
telephone and electronic methods it is likely that face
-
to
-
face
faci
lities will become increasingly redundant. This would
improve administrative productivity and produce cost savings. It
is unlikely that written and telephonic communication will
decrease in the short term and there is no prospect of them
being decommission
ed within the timeframe of this document.

27.

Skills & Training

27.1

The foremost skills needed for this to succeed are those of
project management and change management. Other skills
which will be required are:

a)

Leadership
-

members and senior management

b)

Busi
ness system development

c)

Information Management

d)

End
-
user skills

e)

Specialist user skills

f)

e
-
Learning

g)

Procurement

h)

IT Support

27.2

The Council will work with its local partners to identify the skills
that already exist and endeavour to make optimum
use of
appropriate expertise. Where short
-
term gaps exist we will seek
private sector assistance or rapid training where this is
practical. Should our longer term requirements be for increased
in
-
house skills we will seek to retrain our existing workforce
and
recruit as necessary. It may be that the acquisition of the skills
required will be resolved by the employment of private
contractors or by using local government partners.

27.3

The Council has embarked on a training programme to ensure
that all of its staf
f have the necessary skills to support the move
to electronically enabled citizens. All staff are expected to have
achieved the minimum standard for computer skills, based on
modules of the European Computer Driving License by 2004.

28

4.

INFORMATION SYSTEMS

STRATEGY

28.

Systems Overview

28.1

The Council employs a wide range of systems, both
computerised and manual, to administer the services it
provides. A brief overview of the major systems, including
anticipated or planned developments is set out below.

IT Systems

28.2

Council Tax

The Council Tax system was developed in house to administer
the Council Tax, going live from April 1993. It was developed for
operation on the Council’s Unix machines leased from MDIS
(McDonnell Douglas Information Systems) using MDIS’s
REALITY

operating system. The system was transferred to file
servers running Reality X on Windows NT in 1999.

28.3

Benefits

The Benefits system was developed in house to administer
Council Tax and Housing Benefit, going live from April 1993. It
was developed for opera
tion on the Council’s Unix machines
leased from MDIS using MDIS’s REALITY operating system. The
system was transferred to file servers running Reality X on
Windows NT in 1999. The system is currently being updated to
cope with recent changes in the legisla
tion affecting the benefit
service and to provide improved management information.

28.4

Business Rates

The Business Rates (NNDR) system was developed in house to
replace a commercial package from MDIS and was introduced
in April 1995. It was developed for opera
tion on the Council’s
Unix machines leased from MDIS using MDIS’s REALITY
operating system. The system was transferred to file servers
running Reality X on Windows NT in 1999.

28.5

Community Charge

The Community Charge system was developed in house to
administe
r the recovery of residual Community Charge
following the introduction of the Council Tax in April 1993. It was
introduced in May 1996 for operation on the Council’s Unix
machines leased from MDIS using MDIS’s REALITY operating
system. The system was trans
ferred to file servers running
Reality X on Windows NT in 1999. The system has a finite life
depending upon the success of collecting the outstanding
arrears. As numbers of accounts decline it would be feasible to
transfer the records onto the Sundry Debto
rs system.

29

28.6

Cash Receipting

The Cash Receipting system was developed in house in 1989 to
administer the allocation of income to the Council’s accounts. It
was developed for operation on the Council’s mainframe leased
from MDIS using MDIS’s REALITY operatin
g system. The system
was transferred to file servers running Reality X on Windows NT
in 1999.

28.7

General Ledger

The Council introduced the current General Ledger in April
1998 after purchasing it from a third party supplier, PPSL.
Following the acquisition of

PPSL by Cedar Group Plc the
Council has embarked upon an upgrade of the current system to
the Cedar Financials suite of programs. The Cedar General
Ledger commenced live operation in 2000.

28.8

Creditors

The Council introduced the current Creditors system in A
pril
1998 after purchasing it from a third party supplier, PPSL.
Following the acquisition of PPSL by Cedar Group Plc the
Council has embarked upon an upgrade of the current system to
the Cedar Financials suite of programs. The Creditors system is
planned
to be upgraded in 2001. Once the new system has been
introduced the Council will implement facilities to pay creditors
electronically through BACS (Bank Automated Clearing System).
Commitment accounting will also be provided for service
managers through de
ployment of the purchase ordering
module.

28.9

Bank Reconciliation

The Council introduced the current cheque reconciliation
system in April 1998 after purchasing it from a third party
supplier, PPSL. Following the acquisition of PPSL by Cedar
Group Plc the Coun
cil will upgrade the current system to the
Cedar Financials suite of programs. The current system is
planned to be upgraded in 2001 once Cedar Group has
completed the merger of its own creditors system with that
produced by PPSL.

28.10

Debtors

The Council introd
uced the current Debtors system in April 1998
after purchasing it from a third party supplier, PPSL. Following
the acquisition of PPSL by Cedar Group Plc the Council has
embarked upon an upgrade of the current system to the Cedar
Financials suite of progra
ms. The current system is planned to
be upgraded in 2002 once Cedar Group has completed the
merger of its own Debtors system with that produced by PPSL.

30

28.11

Miscellaneous Income Allocation

The Miscellaneous Income Allocation system was developed in
house in 1
985 to allocate income directly received through the
Council’s bank accounts to the General Ledger. The system also
performs the allocation of VAT to the requisite ledger
accounting codes. It was developed for operation on the
Council’s mainframe leased fr
om MDIS using MDIS’s REALITY
operating system. The system was transferred to file servers
running Reality X on Windows NT in 1999. There are no
developments currently planned for the system.

28.12

Mortgage Administration

The Mortgage Administration system was de
veloped in house in
1990 to administer mortgages granted by the Council to former
housing tenants under the Right to Buy legislation. It was
developed for operation on the Council’s mainframe leased
from MDIS using MDIS’s REALITY operating system. The syst
em
was transferred to file servers running Reality X on Windows NT
in 1999. Since the transfer of the Council’s remaining housing
stock in March 1997 no new mortgages will be created and the
system will be redundant once the last mortgage is repaid in
2033
, although it is anticipated that this will be redeemed early
in 2002.

28.13

Payroll

The Council’s payroll system, ISIS, administers the processing of
payroll information for employees and payments to Councillors.
The system was implemented in 1986 by Northgate
Information
Solutions (formerly MDIS) and was transferred to file servers
running Reality X on Windows NT in 1999.

28.14

Payroll Interface

The payroll interface was developed in house in 1987 to transfer
costing data from the payroll system to the Council’s Gene
ral
Ledger. It was developed for operation on the Council’s
mainframe leased from MDIS using MDIS’s REALITY operating
system. The system was transferred to file servers running
Reality X on Windows NT in 1999.

28.15

Leisure Booking

The Council uses a third party

product developed specifically
for its needs to manage training courses organised internally.
The system was developed in 1998 and runs under Windows NT
with Microsoft Access as the database. Since the system was
written by an ex
-
employee, who is now empl
oyed by another
organisation, the level of support is questionable.

31

28.16

Electoral Registration

The Council uses a computerised system to administer the
electoral register which is supplied by a third party, Pickwick
Systems. It was implemented on the Council’
s mainframe leased
from MDIS using MDIS’s REALITY operating system in 1989. The
system was transferred to file servers running Reality X on
Windows NT in 1999.

28.17

Environmental Health

The environmental health system is supplied by Sandersons in
November 1987
and provides administrative support to the
Environmental Health Division. The system was upgraded to run
under Windows NT in 1996.

28.18

Licensing

The Council uses a computerised system to administer the
granting of licences which was written in
-
house in 1990. I
t was
implemented on the Council’s mainframe leased from MDIS
using MDIS’s REALITY operating system. The system was
transferred to file servers running Reality X on Windows NT in
1999.

28.19

Corporate Management System

A new system running on the Council’s intra
net and internet has
been developed in house and was implemented in November
2000. The system handles the compilation of agendas and
minutes and the publication of this information onto the
Council’s website. Information on Members and officers of the
Coun
cil and associated organisations is stored as part of the
database and can also be accessed from the Council’s website.
A number of developments have already been identified
following the Best Value review of Committee Services.

28.20

Land Charges

The Land Charg
es service uses a mixture of manual and
computer based records to provide a service to property
buyers. The section is, in the main, reliant on information
provided from other systems to carry out its function, most of
which is accessed through the Council
’s GIS system. Many of the
functions supporting Land Charges are now handled by a
computerised administration system written in
-
house in 1999
running under Windows NT and using a SQL database.

28.21

Planning

The current Planning Administration system, which is
m
aintained in house, is being reviewed as part of the Best Value
review of Development Control. The review will determine
whether the system should be replaced by a third party product
or by an in
-
house developed system. The current system was
32

implemented i
n 1985 and is running on file servers running
Reality X on Windows NT. An in
-
house system was started in
1995 but development has been severely delayed because of
lack of resources. This system will form the basis of a new
planning system if an in
-
house so
lution is recommended by the
Development Control review team.

28.22

Enforcement

A small system to handle the administration of planning
enforcement was written in 2000 as a Windows based system
running under Windows NT. In the longer term the system will
form pa
rt of the new Planning system.

28.23

Building Control

The Building Control System was developed in 1996 to manage
many of the processes involved in dealing with a building
control application. The system runs under Windows NT with
Microsoft Access as the databas
e. The system has also been
designed so that it can be integrated with the Council’s Planning
system, therefore producing an overall solution for the Planning
Department. Whilst the system satisfies the basic needs of the
Building Control Section in admini
stering the service, including
the functionality needed to deal with full fee recovery, work
would still need to be done to upgrade the system to the same
level of functionality as the proposed Planning System. This
would chiefly involve the integration of

other Microsoft products
such as email, word processing and spreadsheets as well as
adding workflow functionality.

28.24

GIS

The Council operates a Geographic Information System to
provide map
-
based information for a variety of applications. The
system was orig
inally implemented using Wings from Systems
Options Ltd in 1994. However, due to poor performance of this
software the applications are currently being migrated to a
platform based on the MapInfo GIS product. This migration is
due to be completed by March
2002.

28.25

Excess Charge Notices

The Excess Charge Notices system is used to administer the
recovery of excess charge tickets issued by the Council’s car
park wardens. It was developed in 1994 for operation on the
Council’s mainframe leased from MDIS using MDIS
’s REALITY
operating system. The system was transferred to file servers
running Reality X on Windows NT in 1999.

28.26

Concessionary Fares

The concessionary fares system was originally designed in 1993
to manage the issue of transport tokens to targeted groups o
f
recipients and used data provided from the benefits system. It
33

was transferred to file servers running Reality X on Windows NT
in 1999. Following the introduction of a mandatory statutory
scheme, the system was amended in 2001 to be operationally
indepen
dent of the benefits system. The Council is considering
whether to work with other local authorities to provide the
service and if this option is implemented it is likely the software
will be replaced with a third party product.

28.27

Leisure Administration Syst
em

The Queen Elizabeth Leisure Centre implemented a third party
product, Quota, supplied by Torex, to administer the booking
of, and income collection from, the Centre’s leisure facilities in
1998. The system was DOS
-
based and was upgraded in 2001 to
a W
indows based product supplied by Microcache running
under Windows NT.

28.28

Moors Valley Season Tickets

The Moors Valley Season Ticket system manages the issue of car
park season tickets for the Country Park. The system was
developed in
-
house in 1999 and runs un
der Windows NT with
Microsoft Access as the database.

34

29.

Systems Summary


System

Supplier

O/S

Database

Council Tax

In house

RealityX on NT

PICK

Benefits

In house

RealityX on NT

PICK

NNDR

In house

RealityX on NT

PICK

Community Charge

In house

RealityX on
NT

PICK

Cash Receipting

In house

RealityX on NT

PICK

Concessionary Fares

In house

RealityX on NT

PICK

General Ledger

Cedar

Windows NT

Oracle

Creditors

Cedar

Windows NT

Oracle

Bank Reconciliation

Cedar

Windows NT

Oracle

Debtors

Cedar

Windows NT

Oracle

Miscellaneous Income

In house

RealityX on NT

PICK

Mortgages

In house

RealityX on NT

PICK

Payroll

Northgate

RealityX on NT

PICK

Payroll Interface

In house

RealityX on NT

PICK

Leisure Booking

Third Party

Windows NT

Access

Environmental Health

Sanderso
ns

Windows NT

SQL

Electoral Registration

Pickwick

Reality NT

Universe

Licensing

Pickwick

RealityX on NT

Universe

Corporate Management

In House

Windows NT

SQL

Land Charges

In House

Windows NT

SQL

Planning

In House

RealityX on NT

PICK

Enforcement

In Ho
use

Windows NT

SQL

Building Control

In House

Windows NT

Access

GIS

MapInfo

Windows NT

SQL

Excess Charges

In house

Reality NT

PICK

Leisure Administration

Microcache

Windows NT

SQL

MVCP Season Tickets

In House

Windows NT

Access


35

30.

Manual Systems

30.1

Asset M
anagement

Manual records are maintained of all land and property owned
by the Council through the property terrier. Much of this
information is required for the purposes of recording and
charging for the use of assets. The system would be an ideal
applicat
ion for conversion to GIS as a basis for the storage of
information.

30.2

Title Deeds & Legal Agreements

Physical copies of title deeds and legal agreements are
maintained within the Legal Division. There is no alternative
method of recreating this information
if it were to become
damaged or destroyed.

30.3

Personnel Records

Personal records for all present and past employees are stored
manually in files located in the Personnel Division. Much of this
information would be of use to managers but is inaccessible
unless

it is physically retrieved. The management of staff could
undoubtedly be improved by making relevant information more
accessible to managers.

31.

Software Standards

31.1

Increasing numbers of people will have access to the internet
and the browser software necessa
ry to access data. This
software is also universally available to Council employees
through their PCs. There is therefore good reason to examine
the need to make the Council’s systems accessible using
browser software for those who require only occasional
access.
The upgrading of the Council’s ledger will enable browser
access to financial data for authorised users.

31.2

The Council has previously established that Microsoft products
would form the basis for third party PC applications. These
products, such as Wo
rd, are routinely used in systems being
developed by the Council’s IT staff. Microsoft Office will
therefore be the standard product for providing PC applications
such as electronic diaries, word processing capability,
spreadsheets and presentation graphic
s. Appropriate versions
of these products will be supplied by the IT Division on a
corporate basis for all users depending on their needs as
assessed by individual service managers. Service Managers will
be able to provide other packages for their business

use funded
from their own budgets but these products should only be used
where there is a clear and justifiable business requirement to
move away from the corporate products or where the corporate
36

products do not cover their particular business needs (e.g
.
drawing/graphics products).

32.

Other Standards

32.1

Systems Development

For any major investment that has had a business case produced
a formal approach to project management should be applied.
All Project management should be done to a common
methodology based
on the principles of PRINCE2. This
methodology needs to be published and adopted as a corporate
document for IT projects.

The published methodology should address the project’s
organisation and management arrangements, approach to
planning, reporting and c
ontrols and the management of risk,
quality, configurations and change.

The IT industry is taking on a new generation of developers,
methods and technical architectures. This is moving us on from
applications development in one particular skill, historica
lly
DataBasic and later Visual Basic and into an area of cross
development using merging tools. We are fortunate in the fact
that we have developers skilled in the new technologies. These
people must enhance their skills as integrators and embrace
new ch
allenges and skill sets.

Development tools will be adopted as the standard with both a
specialist and a practitioner. No tool will be used without at
least one other member of staff becoming conversant in its use
or having an external source of expertise
easily available.

32.2

Security

The security of the Council’s data is paramount and data needs
to be protected from illicit access both internally and externally.
The Council’s firewall is the main defence against unauthorised
access from external sources to el
ectronic information and the
integrity of this protection is tested on a regular basis to ensure
that security loopholes are kept to a minimum. Once access has
been gained to the Council’s network individual systems are
protected through password access.

T
here is a national standard set by the British Standards Institute,
BS7799, which relates to IT security and covers ten key areas.
The Council’s current arrangements comply to varying degrees
with the standard ranging from low compliance for systems
develo
pment to the highest level of compliance for personnel.
Compliance with BS7799 would show that the Council has taken
all possible steps to ensure that its ICT environment is secure
and a programme of achieving compliance should be
developed.

37

32.3

Programming

S
tandards exist for the development of applications using Visual
Basic. These standards will continue to be updated and
improved along with the introduction of standards for all new
development tools.

32.4

Data Control

All data will adhere to the standards and
procedures as laid
down in the Information Security Policy.

33.

Performance Monitoring

33.1

Service Level Agreements

Service Level Agreements (SLAs) are being introduced with new
systems development and seek to set down standards of service
provision between the IT

Division and the system user.
However, whilst various standards of service can be defined
within the SLAs there is currently no method of monitoring
compliance over a number of the areas covered.

33.2

Fault Reporting

Whilst users of PCs are readily able to rep
ort faults to the IT
Support team, there is limited monitoring of progress and
performance in resolving faults. The speed of resolving fault
calls cannot be effectively monitored as the system is
predominantly manual. This situation would be ideally
addres
sed through the implementation of a consolidated service
desk which would handle fault reporting and resolution as well
as the management of assets and software licensing. This in turn
would enable SLAs to be effectively enforced.

33.3

Network & System Availabi
lity

The Council does not have a system in place to monitor the
availability of its network and systems and therefore has no data
available on which to base SLAs covering this area.

33.4

Network Activity

The Council does not have a system in place to monitor th
e use
of its network and therefore has no data available on which to