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Stirling Council plans new digital spend in response to pandemic

07/10/20

Mark Say Managing Editor

Stirling Council has signalled it is ready to make a significant investment in digital technology as part of a long term response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

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It has developed a revised budget, to be placed before councillors later this week, which includes an allocation of £2.09 million for technology and alterations to facilities to support its services as a result of the pandemic.

The council’s capital budget has been recalibrated to total more than £34 million, with the money coming from reserves and any additional Scottish Government funding that becomes available.

It said this will prevent any cuts to core services over the next six months.

Flexibility and efficiency

Councillor Danny Gibson, Stirling’s deputy leader, said: “Investing in digital technology will also increase the local authority’s flexibility and efficiency for delivering services to the communities for many years to come.”

The budget document indicates a need for increasing investment in cloud services but with some investment in the existing data centres to provide a hybrid solution.

It says the IT and finance departments will work on centralising the IT budgets that currently sit with services with the aim of improving the management of the technology estate and obtaining economies in procurement.

This follows an investment in a one-year subscription for the VMWare Horizon platform in the early days of the pandemic to enable many of the council’s staff to work from home. There are now plans to purchase a perpetual licence with five years of support for up to 1,000 users.

There will also be a significant investment in remote learning for the council’s schools, with a statement that it wants all P5-S6 pupils to be able to access remote or blended e-learning at any point.

“In the longer term, this investment will improve the access to e-learning materials and support, both locally and nationally, to enhance learning and teaching approaches now and in the future,” the document says.

 

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