May 4, 2021 5.37 pm This story is over 30 months old

Boston council to save money by sharing housing IT costs with East Lindsey

Housing and homeless systems to be merged

Boston Borough Council will make yearly savings of between nearly £50-£70,000 on its housing IT systems, if leaders agree to share the cost through the strategic alliance with East Lindsey next week.

Boston’s separate housing and homeless systems are described as “no longer up to date”, “paper driven” and with “limited reporting capabilities” in a report before cabinet members on Wednesday.

Quotes to the borough to fully replace the system have ranged from £70,000 to £90,000. However, East Lindsey District Council has agreed to let Boston join its systems which were upgraded in 2019 – bringing the costs down to a one-off £6,930 installation cost and a further £13,995 for the two years remaining on ELDC’s contract.

The report said the new East Lincolnshire Housing Allocation Scheme “is a positive development opportunity for the strategic alliance”.

It says it will provide “value for money and best use of shared resources” as well as align staff, systems and processes.

The authority said it will also improve the customer experience, however, it notes that users will need to re-register on the new system.

In the meantime, however, it said support and advice will be provided and a manual “direct let” process will be in place ” to ensure customers do not miss out on properties”.

The Boston Borough Council and East Lindsey District Council strategic alliance was finalised in July 2020 and sees the authorities share a joint Chief Executive and senior officers, with workforce merger plans also set to take place.

It is hoped the alignment will save £15.4 million over 10 years.

East Lindsey District Council leader Craig Leyland (left) and Boston Borough Council leader Paul Skinner have overseen the creation of the strategic alliance.

However, opponents at the time expressed grave concerns over the plans, saying they were rushed and lacked scrutiny.

There were also worries over the job losses around hard working staff at the authorities.

Since then Boston has also become a shareholder in the Public Sector Partnership Services company with East Lindsey and South Holland District Council.

The company delivers IT, HR, finance, customer contact and revenues and benefits on the councils’ behalf.

Leaders hope the move will save a further £1.8 million over the next ten years. At the time, the authority made a commitment of no redundancies.