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Highland Council unveils ICT and digital strategies


Mark Say Managing Editor

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Hand holding digital cogwheel
Image source: Mis

Highland Council has published its new ICT and digital strategies, outlining plans following its insourcing earlier this year.

They come after the council significantly reduced its managed service with Wipro, which is now confined largely to management of the data centre with 30 jobs having been moved in-house.

Both strategies were approved earlier last week by the corporate resources committee.

The five-year ICT strategy says it is set partly in response to the insourcing, along with the change in working patterns from the pandemic, the need for financial sustainability and the national approach to digital services in Scotland.

It involves four key themes: building a local, sustainable and skilled ICT team; assessing and challenging contracts for best value; ensuring budgets are aligned to user needs; and a technology roadmap for greater resilience and security.

Security, sign-on and sharing

The latter comprises a number of initiatives, including the adoption of a zero trust and conditional access security model, single sign-on, the migration of shared drive data to Microsoft O365 and Google Workspace, a revised local area network architecture and a move away from virtual private network connections.

The ICT team structure will be broken down into service operations, technical operations, business applications, solution architecture and transformation delivery.

The digital strategy – developed with support from the Local Government Digital Office for Scotland – is based on best practice set out by Audit Scotland.

It includes a number of broad strategy outcomes – such as digital as an integral part of service planning and delivery and the adoption of a data informed cross-service approach to operations - and an implementation plan.

Features of the latter include making more use of the council’s Microsoft platform, ensuring secure communications for health and social care, digital engagement on roads and transport and the Connected Customers Project to increase digital transactions with the public.

Forward thinking

Chair of the corporate resources committee, Cllr Derek Louden, said: “I’m delighted that the new ICT and digital strategies have been approved.  They support the requirements to deliver a forward thinking and digitally enabled council over the coming years whilst delivering more efficiencies, savings, and improved services to our customers. 

“Following the Covid-19 pandemic, the entire council workforce have embraced new technologies quickly and ICT is essential in supporting a blend of workstyles and supports how we deliver council services in the future. 

“This alongside our new digital strategy will allow the council to utilise technology to work smarter, streamline, standardise and automate our business processes and procedures.”

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