Friday 3 August 2012

Brent Council joins the 'cloud' - what are the risks?

Pros and Cons of Cloud Computing

In its recent Corporate Risk register Brent Council recognised that there was a possibility of an IT failure in its move to the Civic Centre in the summer of 2013.  Brent Council has reached an agreement with other London councils to share services via a 'cloud' computing company, Capgemini which put out the following statement:

Six London borough councils have signed a four-year contract with Capgemini that will see them move their finance, procurement, HR and payroll services to the cloud.
The shared services project involves Lambeth, Lewisham, Barking and Dagenham, Brent, Croydon and Havering councils.
It is the first programme to be announced under Project Athena, which will lay the foundations for a single ICT platform for use by all London-based public sector organisations.
Capgemini claims the deal is the most ambitious IT programme ever undertaken by local government and will pave the way for similar initiatives across the UK.
The councils' new systems are scheduled to go live in July 2013 and will be managed by Capgemini for a further three years.
Mike Suarez, executive director for finance and resources for Lambeth Council, who led the bid for the transformation contract, said:
All councils share common support functions - like HR, finance and procurement - but we have our own ways of doing them. If we can use the same system, we will streamline our processes and save money without cutting services.
Managers will have access to budgets in real time and not need to complete endless paperwork for the simplest of tasks – making real savings for the tax payer.
Suzy Foster, head of local government of Capgemini UK, said:
We have helped many public sector bodies improve services to the public and save money by streamlining their IT and business processes. We are now delighted to have the opportunity to deliver these same benefits in the greatest city in the world.
I hope that officers and councillors have addressed the issues of security, lock-in (to contract), lack of control and reliability that the diagram above identifies as possible drawbacks to such a system. Clearly these pose risks for both residents and council services. It is not clear what the move will mean eventually in terms of job losses.

The combination of both a physical move and a digital one presents a major challenge,

More on cloud computing services HERE

1 comment:

Gaynor Lloyd said...

Funnily enough I have just had an email from a client's tenant which is abandoning cloud computing for soem of teh issues Martin mentions. But this is a public authority! See what Wikipedia says about risks and special consideratiins for such bodies What risk assessments have the Councils done? Am I the only person to tremble when they see the words"most ambitious IT programme undertaken by local government"?Are we the guinesa pigs?