The Head of Corporate Resources introduced the report. He said the audit work was underway to be completed by June 2015. He said that he was pleased to report managers were now giving the audit recommendations attention and to date over 90% of the recommendations had already being completed or were in the process of being completed. The Head of Corporate Resources said that the Council has contracted the London Borough of Greenwich to deliver the schools audit plan, and was in the process of finalising the contracting of the main non-schools internal audit work through the London Boroughs of Croydon and Islington frameworks with Mazaars and PwC respectively. The Panel was informed that the new Head of Information Technology was present at the meeting to update members on developments.
The Head of Information Technology told members that he was appointed approximately 2 months ago and was aware that some of the issues raised in the past were connected to remote access and Wi-Fi connections. The Chair said that Council members also had issues around security and direct access from their workplace.
The Chair asked if these problems were because of lack of adequate resources. The Panel was informed that there had been 25% staff reduction, and savings had been made on big contracts. The Head of IT said some of the savings had been invested in building capability within the workforce. He said that in the past the authority had been reliant on Capita to provide the necessary services, but the Council now felt it would need to manage some of its projects. Mr Robinson asked why there was a delay in addressing the audit recommendations for IT. The Head of IT said that officers were taking steps to get into grips with the projects and program that would enable them to deliver the recommendations. He added that the IT strategy can’t be drawn up until adequate capability was in place.
The Head of IT said that it was important that the Council put in place a business continuity and disaster recovery plan. The ICT Client and Policy Manager said that the timetable for addressing the recommendations was put back in order to be PSN compliant, which included a continuity and disaster recovery plan. Mr Robinson asked whether there was an IT Strategy in place, and was told there was not. Mr Robinson said if there was not one in place then the projects that have been prioritised might not fit in with a new IT Strategy which could be a waste of time and resources. The Head of IT said there were some urgent things that needed to be done, before the IT Strategy was completed, e.g. the continuity and disaster recovery plan, and the Head of Strategy would be leading on the IT Strategy work.
Councillor Slater said that as the IT Strategy was not in place it would be worthwhile to see if outsourcing the IT Contract would deliver value for money. The Head of IT stated that everything was been looked at to get best value for money.
RESOLVED that the report be noted.