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Oxfordshire County Council approves ICT strategy


Mark Say Managing Editor

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Councillors at Oxfordshire County Council have approved a new ICT strategy aimed at future proofing its digital systems.

In a move agreed by its cabinet shortly before Christmas, the council also signed up to the Local Digital Declaration.

Its announcement highlighted new efforts in cyber security, with a plan to appoint a dedicated cyber security officer, and to move systems to cloud services, pointing to the potential to sharply reduce its energy consumption.

The county council is developing its ICT services with its partner Cherwell District Council, with a long term ambition to improve digital connectivity across the whole county.

Councillor Ian Corkin, cabinet member for Cherwell Partnership Delivery, commented: “Technology should enable more effective partnership working and improve service design, breaking down organisational boundaries and providing excellent customer service.”

First step refresh

The strategy has been defined over a five-year period to include a minimum two years for a technology refresh with investment in a number of infrastructure components. It also encompasses a refresh to communications solutions, applications migration and rationalisation, and organisational and cultural change.

Six key themes emerge from the document, including the emphasis on cyber security, with the appointment of a new officer. Other elements include working with partners such as the police to provide awareness training, documentation processes and policy to clearly define roles and procedures, and ensuring these are regularly reviewed.

The council will also require its suppliers to meet cyber security requirements for new and existing contracts.

The emphasis on cloud will play a significant part in the infrastructure refresh, initially focused on infrastructure and managed network solutions, then extending to future cloud migrations.

It also figures in the technology roadmap through a ‘cloud first’ policy and the use of cloud based back-ups, accompanying efforts to redesign ICT systems, and modernise and streamline the data centre, wide area network and applications.

Mixed economy

The sourcing and commissioning element of the strategy involved developing multi-council partnerships, and building a mixed economy of in-house and external services.

The other main themes are the adoption of customer centric ICT, the transformation of service operations, and the alignment of digital strategy with the Local Digital Declaration – developed by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government with a number of local authorities to support transformation efforts.

Image from iStock, don skarpo

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