Summary of key points highlighted by officers in presenting the report and accompanying slide presentation:
1. As approved by the Cabinet in July 2022, the DTP provided further investment to address key IT risks for the Council and to continue progress towards a modernised simple, stable and secure digital environment which was resilient for the future.
2. Of the approved £17.99m budget envelope, just over £7m had been spent as at November 2023; expenditure would increase at pace as key projects within the programme approached their delivery stage.
3. Of the thirteen original projects which comprised the programme at the time of the Cabinet approval, seven had been completed and six were in-progress, with the addition of one extra project identified through DTP governance.
4. The overall programme was RAG-rated ‘Green’. The programme was operating within its approved time and budget contingencies, although some specific projects had exceeded tolerances and had been re-profiled (generally, this re-profiling had related to time contingency rather than financial contingency).
Summary of main points raised/noted in discussion:
1. A question was asked about the resilience of the Council’s IT systems to cyber-attacks, noting, for example, the context of the recent cyber-attack experienced by the British Library. It was noted that implementation of the programme and system modernisation had helped to increase the Council’s resilience to cyber-attacks; for example, the external website was now on a stable platform, with unplanned website outages reduced from up to three per year to zero since the move to the platform. It was noted that encouraging and securing best practice from staff in using systems was also an important consideration in resisting cyber-attacks.
2. In response to a question, it was noted that the core telephony solution had been implemented and was live. The telephony product implemented did though require further enhancement to provide greater security and compliance with Payment Card Industry standards; the project had identified a greater number of services across the organisation which took card payments by phone than had been anticipated, and it was therefore important to ensure these were technologically compliant.
3. A question was asked about the timeline for delivering the Hybrid Meeting Tech and AV project, noting the context of the forthcoming move to the committee management model from May 2024. It was noted that it was now anticipated that (due to the need to confirm the funding arrangements/approvals as part of the ongoing 2024/25 council budget development) this project was now more likely to be delivered by July/August 2024 rather than the original target delivery date of April 2024.
4. In relation to programme benefit realisation, it was noted that in overall terms, the programme aimed to increase its financial benefits compared to those anticipated when its Full Business Case was approved. The financial benefits were now anticipated to be approx. £960k by the time the programme reached maturity in 2025-26, compared to the approx. £300k anticipated when the programme was approved. This was though subject to further review as remaining projects proceeded through their delivery stages.
5. A question was raised about the carbon impact and ‘net zero’ contributions of the DTP, and how this compared with other local authorities, noting that this aspect had not been covered through this report. Officers advised that following the meeting, they would supply additional information for members on this point. It was noted that environmental/
ecological considerations formed part of the project business case development process.
The Commission RESOLVED:
- To note the report and the above information.