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Watford and Three Rivers councils face £1.6m IT bill to update new software
Council bosses are requesting more than £1.6 million to modernise out-dated computer software in order to avert what opposition politicans have called a potential "disaster".
Three Rivers District Council has been asked to stump up £653,000 to fix its "aged" software, which will directly impact on council-run services such as housing benefits, revenues and electoral services.
As these services are shared between Three Rivers District Council and Watford Borough Council, the two local authorities will be sharing the computer costs.
The amount of £653,000 requested from Three Rivers would only cover 40 per cent of the cash needed.
The council outsourced its IT service to Capita in May last year and the request for extra funding comes just months after Three Rivers set its annual budget.
This new programme was not included in the original budget and is therefore additional expenditure to that already agreed.
Councillor David Sansom, Conservative representative for Rickmansworth Town, said: "I am amazed to find that the Three Rivers ICT department is yet again facing disaster and in need of £653,000.
"The Liberal Democrats at Three Rivers District Council have only just set their budget for this year and already it is being blown apart by the need to urgently replace ‘aged servers’.
"They were not much younger three months ago when the budget was set, you have to question what kind of management sets an annual budget and then can’t even stick with it for three months."
The proposal was put forward to the district council’s policy and resources committee meeting on Monday night.
Politicians rejected the application for the full sum of money, instead committing £200,000 to the programme.
Ann Shaw, leader of the Liberal Democrat-run council, said: "The policy and resources committee did not agree to the sum requested.
"The IT Service has been outsourced and new information has come forward but far more detail is required.
"The council is reviewing the whole budget to see where savings can be made to meet reduced revenue and compensate for necessary expenditure.
"It is also expected that investment in the council's IT will enable staff to work more efficiently and produce savings for the future."
In order for the scheme to go ahead, 60 per cent will need to be supplied by Watford Borough Council - on top of the remaining £453,000 if extra funding is not awarded by Three Rivers.
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