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Cornwall to invest £18 million in IT infrastructure


Council begins to identify priorities for three-year Digital Improvement plan – and looks to work with local companies

Cornwall Council has announced plans for an £18 million investment on its IT infrastructure over the next three years, with an initial emphasis on a “digital front door” for its residents to access services.

Its cabinet approved the spending this week, following what was described as “a lack of investment in IT for a number of years”.

The plan has been developed after consultation with a number of private, public and voluntary organisations, and will focus on four key areas.

Mark Read, Cornwall’s service director for customer access and digital, told UKAuthority that there will be a strong focus on making it easier for residents to deal with the council online.

“At the moment our website is okay but it’s not really joined up,” he said. “Residents have to log on to different portals for different services, and we want to bring it all together in a single entry point.”

He said it is about eight years since there was any significant IT investment, and other areas for spending are to build up the council’s capability for mobile working and modernising the ageing technical infrastructure. A small amount will also be spent on research and development.

Read said the council will spend the next two months identifying more precise priorities, and that it has no plans for a big transformation deal with a private sector partner.

Local economy boost

“We’re very keen on working with the local digital economy,” he said. “There are a lot of exciting providers in Cornwall and we’re keen to work with them on various initiatives as much as we can.

“It’s going to be a combination; we’re keen to work locally as well as with national providers.”

Adam Paynter, cabinet member for resources, said the council’s IT systems have not kept up with the changes in working and sharing information, and that the investment will make it more responsive to its customers.

“It will also provide an improved modern working environment for staff and members, making it easier to share information between different services and between partners which will, in turn, increase efficiency,” he said.

“This is particularly important in areas such as health and social care where it is vital that staff from different organisations can access the information they need quickly. This improved efficiency will also help to deliver the savings we need to make to protect frontline services.”

Image: Cornwall County Hall by Andrew Le Couteur Bisson, CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

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