Norfolk Council Digital Project At Risk

Jun 16, 2015

Norfolk County Council’s £26m Digital Norfolk Ambition project has been described as a “looming catastrophe” after delays and problems meant the budget has been exceeded by £1.25m.

The deal, which was signed in December 2013, is a joint venture between the local authority and tech giants HP, Microsoft and Vodafone.

The aim of the programme is to achieve over £10m of savings from the council’s IT budget over the next five years.

Staff are being provided with the latest technology to aid in the delivery of efficient and sustainable public services.

However, a new report into the project which was presented to Norfolk’s policy and resources committee says the project is encountering “significant difficulties.”

Employees are the authority are reportedly experiencing difficulties with the laptops they have been given as part of the digital transformation programme and moving the council’s servers to HP’s datacentre has seen lengthy delays.

Digital Norfolk Ambition was originally supposed to cost £26.35m over five years, but is now projected to cost £27.6m, making it 4.7% over budget.

Despite this, the council has claimed that further savings as a result of the project will eventually bring this total down.

“This report shows there is a catastrophe looming. It demonstrates what we are hearing on the ground with staff frustrated at the lack of support and how this programme is going,” claimed representative of Norfolk’s Henstead ward Conservative Roger Smith.

“Our services will fail if this contract does not success,” he told the local press.

“Nothing Out Of The Ordinary”

However, executive director of resources at the County Hall Anne Gibson remains optimistic, and denies that the project is a “looming catastrophe.”

“I do not believe this is at the stage of a catastrophe. There were a number of issues because, in my view, when we embarked on Digital Norfolk Ambition we were doing so from a fairly low point in terms of historic investment in IT,” Gibson claimed.

“As we have moved into implementation of the project, we have uncovered greater difficulties than we anticipated,” she added.


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