‘Transformation’ agenda at East Cambs Council neither ‘costed nor deliverable given the resources and skills available’

East Cambridgeshire District Council

East Cambridgeshire District Council - Credit: Archant

Consultants brought in by East Cambs Council delivered a stinging rebuke of what’s been done so far to make the authority financially self-sufficient.

The transformation programme was said by Foresight Consultancy to look like “a loose collection of projects, rather than a tightly focused programme of work seeking to achieve a given outcome or outcomes”.

The consultancy says without improvements – and more cash to underpin it- the programme “is neither costed nor deliverable given the resources and skills currently available”.

The council’s transformation committee meets on Thursday to consider the consultant’s report which calls for re structuring of the IT service and looking for new ways of working to increase productivity, for example hot desking or remote working.

Andy Radford, the council’s director of resources, will ask councillors to release more money from reserves to fund the changes needed.

Mr Radford says that while the transformation programme has established “robust governance and project management processes” it has not identified the resources required or the benefits that will accrue.

“There is a real risk that there are insufficient resources and identified benefits to drive the full programme,” he says.

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Among other issues raised in his report is “an absence of a clear ICT strategy to drive the transformation programme”.

He wants £100,000 to enable the customer services team to create a new website with improved layout and navigation. On line forms should be available for payments and reporting in, and he wants a “self service account to save time with auto completion”.

Another £140,000 is required to create more efficient mobile technologies and a new intranet.

And with ICT he predicts an efficiency drive, likely to cost £170,000, could achieve “annual savings of £50,000 deliverable in the medium term”.

Councillors will be asked to approve the appointment of Foresight Consultancy to provide overall management of the transformation programme for at least the next six months.