Paul Shannon 17 June 2014

Thinking strategically about infrastructure costs

Thinking strategically about infrastructure costs image

Austerity is here to stay, even as the economy grows councils are having to keep tight leash on spending, while proactively looking for efficiency improvements. At the same time, the digital by default agenda has thrown new pressure on local authority IT teams.

This has been one of the main drivers which has led to more local authorities opting for cloud-based managed service agreements - where they offload the day-to-day management of their IT to a partner.

Not only can this model help to reduce the costs associated with investing in and maintaining their own server equipment, but it can also free up the time of IT teams to concentrate on delivering and enhancing digital services for citizens.

However, before the economic downturn, many councils were less reluctant to invest in their own IT infrastructure – with some even going so far as to acquire their own datacentres. For those that did, the cost of maintaining equipment and up-time in a climate of austerity and service transformation presents a significant challenge.

Thankfully some fantastic examples of lateral thinking are emerging, which suggest that for some authorities, the investments they previously made could hold the key to new revenue streams.

Cloud computing is based around services like data back-up, disaster recovery or mobile working being securely hosted on an off-site server. Where councils already have datacentres in place they could market spare capacity to other public organisations, forming their own shared service agreements, or even small businesses based in the local area.

This is a model which we’ve helped Salford City Council to put in place. By assisting the council to structure its datacentre more efficiently, Salford has cut its back-office costs and been able to focus on freeing-up capacity and marketing it as a pay as you go service for local businesses – effectively acting like a micro version of a commercial cloud provider, like amazon or google. The end user SMEs have gained access to a level of flexible and secure cloud-based IT that may have been cost-prohibitive to invest in themselves, while the council has opened up a new source of revenue.

As authorities continue to embrace digital by default, IT equipment will be a necessary investment for many. Hopefully, projects like Salford City Council’s demonstrate that strategic spend and lateral thinking can mean that the delivery of better, digital public services does not need to come at a premium.

Paul Shannon is managed services MD at IT infrastructure specialist ANS

The power of local systems to save lives image

The power of local systems to save lives

Councils and their partners could do even more to contain the spread of COVID-19 if properly funded to undertake a robust localised system of testing, tracking and tracing, argues Professor Donna Hall.
For your free daily news bulletin
Highways jobs

Principal Flood Risk Officer

Lancashire County Council
We have an exciting opportunity for a Principal Floor Risk Officer Lancashire
Recuriter: Lancashire County Council

Duke of Edinburgh Youth Support Worker

Essex County Council
£14597.0 - £19106.0 per month
Please note this is a part time contract - annualised hours 106 per year. Therefore the actual salary range is from £995.44 up to £1049.79 per annum. England, Essex, Harlow
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Head of Internal Audit

Kent County Council
Up to £97,000 + benefits
We now have an exciting opportunity to strengthen and shape our Audit function, as... Maidstone, Kent
Recuriter: Kent County Council

Director of Children’s Services

St. Helens Metropolitan Borough Council
circa £120,000
This is an exceptional opportunity for someone who wants to make a real difference to the children, young people and families of our Borough. St Helens, Merseyside
Recuriter: St. Helens Metropolitan Borough Council

Assistant Director, Social Care & Public Health Commissioning

Bolton Metropolitan Borough Council
c£71,000 to £89,000 per annum
Reporting to the Director of Strategic Commissioning you will lead Commissioning in the context of a developing Integrated Care System.  Bolton, Greater Manchester
Recuriter: Bolton Metropolitan Borough Council

Public Property

Latest issue - Public Property News

This issue of Public Property examines how how flexible workspaces can lead the way in regeneration for local authorities, Why local authority intervention is key to successful urban regeneration schemes and if the Government’s challenge of embracing beauty is an opportunity for communities.

The March issue also takes a closer look at Blackburn with Darwen Council's first digital health hub to help people gain control over health and care services.

Register for your free digital issue