Posted: Wed 24th Feb 2016

Blaenau Gwent Council joins SRS partners for ICT Services /
This article is old - Published: Wednesday, Feb 24th, 2016

This week, Torfaen County Borough Council, Monmouthshire County Council and Ian Johnston, the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) for Gwent Police approved reports recommending Blaenau Gwent Council join the Shared Resource Service (SRS) as a partner from April 2016. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

The SRS is the ICT provider created by the merger of ICT teams from Gwent Police, Monmouthshire County Council and Torfaen council in 2011 and the £3million state-of-the-art resource centre in Blaenavon was officially opened by First Minister, Carwyn Jones. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

The merger would see Blaenau Gwent’s ICT staff, structures and systems merge into the SRS over several months in order to increase staff capacity, widen access to ICT expertise and enhance services. The proposal will also generate additional income for partners to invest in service improvement and deliver further savings. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

The report follows an external review of Blaenau Gwent’s ICT services in 2014 which highlighted a number of issues with the existing ICT strategy, resilience and structure. Blaenau Gwent councillors voted to join the SRS at its full council meeting held earlier this month. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Cllr Steve Thomas, the Leader of Blaenau Gwent Council, said: “Our business cases explored all options, benefits and risks to determine the preferred solution and resulted in our recommendation to full council to join the SRS as a partner. Going solo was no longer an option given our drive for ICT efficiency, service improvement and transformation through digital projects. For Blaenau Gwent, this will help sustain service levels into the future and contributes to our budget challenge and drive for collaboration. We will now start planning to merge structures, migration to collaborative platforms and a smooth transition for staff.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

The leader of Torfaen council, Cllr Bob Wellington CBE said: ‘This is a major milestone in the SRS journey and one to celebrate as the expansion of our collaborative service model continues. The challenges faced by Blaenau Gwent, like many councils provides an opportunity for the SRS to showcase public sector collaboration. The SRS continues to attract interest from organisations from both within the private and public sectors and I’m certain more partners will follow.’ ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

The PCC for Gwent Police, Ian Johnson said: ‘This is a further evidence of the good relations which is driving collaboration in Gwent public services and demonstrates our shared aspirations to protect front line services as all our budgets reduce.’ ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

The leader of Monmouthshire County Council, Cllr Peter Fox said: ‘The SRS ambition has always been to expand services to other public sector partners. Collaboration has never been so important as we seek to find better and more efficient ways of providing services to citizens and we welcome Blaenau Gwent’s partnership in the SRS. This is another shining example of transforming public services in Gwent and our combined vision to make our communities the most connected in the UK.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

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