London boroughs prepare to vote on plan to change existing shared service to a hosted model with staff moving to Camden
Camden Council could soon take full control of the ICT service it shares with neighbouring London boroughs Islington and Haringey.
All three are considering a plan under which the whole function of the Shared Digital service, under which staff from all three are seconded to a shared operation run by a joint committee, will be transferred to Camden with the relevant staff becoming Camden employees under TUPE rules.
According to an Islington Council document on the proposed change, the existing arrangement is not considered to be sustainable in the long term with the secondment approach holding back the development of the ICT team.
It is understood that Islington will be the first of the councils to make a decision, with the proposal up for discussion by its executive committee tomorrow, 4 January. Haringey's cabinet is due to consider the proposal on 16 January and Camden's on 24 January.
The move would involve Camden becoming the host authority for the service, either reporting to a reconstituted joint committee or through a delegation arrangement to the executive director of corporate services. This would be accompanied by the creation of a shared digital management board, accountable to the joint committee, with an appointed director and other members of staff from each council.
The document says the transition could take place in April of this year.
Two other options have been rejected by the existing committee. It went against maintaining the current arrangements, and turned down the idea of setting up a public service company as it would involve higher governance costs and the creation of a ‘lean’ committee is expected to be more effective.
However, there could be scope to set up a publicly owned company to trade the relevant services in the future if the councils wish to do so.
Camden and Islington initially created the Shared Digital service in September 2015, with Haringey agreeing to join in March 2016. The deal included an indication that the arrangements would be reviewed in November 2017.
In October of last year Camden’s interim chief information officer, Omid Shiraji, provided an indication of the increasing alignment of the ICT function of the three councils. He told UKAuthority Camden was planning to follow the other two in a migration to Office 365, and that they have been looking at a possible consolidation of their data centres.