Council facing £2 million bill for IT improvements

Council facing £2 million bill for IT improvements

Council facing £2 million bill for IT improvements

First published in News Watford Observer: Photograph of the Author by , Chief Reporter

Proposals to tighten up security around a Government online network could land the county council with an IT bill running into more than £2 million.

Hertfordshire County Council will have to make staff undergo new security checks and issue more than 1,000 new laptops as part of reforms to the public service network.

The network allows government agencies and local councils share data, some which is highly sensitive such as social and child care services.

Last year announced the Government announced it was beefing up security around the system by raising the standards organisations needed to meet to remain accredited to use it.

Councils which fail to meet these new standards have been threatened with disconnection.

The new regime will mean that accredited council staff will not be able to access the network from private computers or devices and will not be able to forwards emails to personal accounts.

Under the current plans the county council will have to replace 1,024 laptops at an estimated cost of £1.2 million over four years and then more than £1 million in additional support costs. It also faces a £26,500 annual bill to furnish more than 200 staff whom access the network from personal devices with new approved smart phones.

On top of the extra hardware costs, the council will also have to foot a bill running up to around £200,000 for staff to undergo new security checks for the system.

Comments (4)

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5:05pm Tue 8 Apr 14

D_Penn says...

I sense another government led expensive IT disaster.

I've been in IT all my working life and have yet to see a large government driven IT project that doesn't cost an absolute fortune, falls well below expectation - if it ever works at all - and in no time at all needs replacing.

Those of us who have seen it all over time know that the best way to build large, effective and secure systems is to start off small and evolve to where you want to get to by taking small steps.

These revolutionary projects where you throw out the old and bring in the new puts lots of money into large IT companies' pockets but inevitably create new and unforseen problems. Successive governments never learn from past failures and althoughy I'd love to be proved wrong, I'd place a strong bet that this exercise will cost County a lot of money for no appreciable gain.
I sense another government led expensive IT disaster. I've been in IT all my working life and have yet to see a large government driven IT project that doesn't cost an absolute fortune, falls well below expectation - if it ever works at all - and in no time at all needs replacing. Those of us who have seen it all over time know that the best way to build large, effective and secure systems is to start off small and evolve to where you want to get to by taking small steps. These revolutionary projects where you throw out the old and bring in the new puts lots of money into large IT companies' pockets but inevitably create new and unforseen problems. Successive governments never learn from past failures and althoughy I'd love to be proved wrong, I'd place a strong bet that this exercise will cost County a lot of money for no appreciable gain. D_Penn
  • Score: 2

5:21pm Tue 8 Apr 14

cameluk says...

Wouldn't that money costed for the replacement laptops be spent anyway through normal wear and tear, business laptops tend to need replacing every three years anyway

Why do 200 staff need smartphones? Give them a laptop instead alongside a dumbphone, I don't believe its possible for them to do all their work on a smartphone so they already have access to another computer, just replace this with a new laptop
Wouldn't that money costed for the replacement laptops be spent anyway through normal wear and tear, business laptops tend to need replacing every three years anyway Why do 200 staff need smartphones? Give them a laptop instead alongside a dumbphone, I don't believe its possible for them to do all their work on a smartphone so they already have access to another computer, just replace this with a new laptop cameluk
  • Score: 1

9:40pm Tue 8 Apr 14

LSC says...

I'm very, very old (46) but I remember when Councils functioned without computers at all, let alone ones at a grand a pop. Is this so they can mess things up faster and more efficiently?
I'm very, very old (46) but I remember when Councils functioned without computers at all, let alone ones at a grand a pop. Is this so they can mess things up faster and more efficiently? LSC
  • Score: 1

3:56am Wed 9 Apr 14

John Dowdle says...

Another lurk to waste tax payers' money and enrich the Tories' pals.
Could they not re-program existing lap tops at a fraction of the cost?
Of course not - how could their chums rip off the public if they did?
All part of a strategy to enrich the already wealthy at the expense of others.
Welcome to "rip-off" Britain.
David Penn is right: look at WBC and Y2K changes in IT. It ended up costing Vince Muspratt the elected mayoracy - that and his own stupidity.
He actually believe Dorothy and Lib Dem assurances that she was not interested in standing as a candidate for elected mayor - and he believed them !! You could not invent this sort of farce-tragedy, could you?
The Tories control County Hall. Now they've decided to squander £2 million of hardworking families money on this project, nothing will stop them.
Another lurk to waste tax payers' money and enrich the Tories' pals. Could they not re-program existing lap tops at a fraction of the cost? Of course not - how could their chums rip off the public if they did? All part of a strategy to enrich the already wealthy at the expense of others. Welcome to "rip-off" Britain. David Penn is right: look at WBC and Y2K changes in IT. It ended up costing Vince Muspratt the elected mayoracy - that and his own stupidity. He actually believe Dorothy and Lib Dem assurances that she was not interested in standing as a candidate for elected mayor - and he believed them !! You could not invent this sort of farce-tragedy, could you? The Tories control County Hall. Now they've decided to squander £2 million of hardworking families money on this project, nothing will stop them. John Dowdle
  • Score: 1

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