December 12, 2019 9.53 am This story is over 52 months old

£1.8m investment set for county IT beset by issues

It follows a series of hiccups over the past few years

Lincolnshire County Council leaders are set to approve around £1.8 million of investment to redesign the authority’s IT systems in a bid to stop it being beset by issues.

The council’s executive will also look to adopt systems from, and become part-owner of, Hoople Limited which oversees services including human resources, payroll and finance for a number of public sector shareholders.

It follows a number of “significant” issues with the authority’s current system – which began as Agresso and is now called Business World.

The issues affected both the authority and the 160-plus schools it looks after.

The council has a contract with Serco worth £70 million to deliver IT, finance and HR services, as well as taking over the authority’s customer services centre.

However, the contract, which was due to end in 2020, was beset by issues of poor performance and difficulties in configuring the software.

The authority later fined Serco more than £2 million for poor performance.

Last year, the authority voted to extend the contract  for the provision of IT, payroll, HR, customer services, exchequer services and adult care finance until the end of March 2022.

Councillors instead took a number of services, including the at-the-time Agresso system, in-house and carried out further investigations.

In a report before councillors on Tuesday, officers will say the system was incorrectly set up and is “contributing to the inability to address a number of ongoing issues and is limiting the ability to take advantage of the full functionality.”

“Whilst the investment in the reconstruction of the system is significant, [it] is not sustainable in its current state and a re-design will remove duplicated and inefficient processes,” says the officer’s report.

They praise Hoople’s past success and say incorporating the company will cost half-a-million pound less than if the authority took on the job itself.

Becoming part owner will also give the council – along with Herefordshire Council and Wye Valley NHS Trust – more control over the development of the system.

Hoople are looking to agree a seven-year agreement from the authority with an option to extend for a further two years.

It is hoped the move will be finished by April 2021.

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