Good progress being made on Highland Council’s project to bring ICT delivery in-house
A report with an update on the progress being made with Project Dòchas – the Highland Council project to transition from outsourced ICT delivery arrangements to in-house provision – was presented to members of yesterday’s Corporate Resources Committee.
This new direction for ICT is expected to bring greater benefits in terms of value for money, quality of service and flexibility to meet changing business demands. It will also enable the organisation to drive forward the use of technology to modernise and transform the way Council services are delivered and support the medium-term financial planning of the Council.
The Council – up until now – has previously out-sourced ICT arrangements for over 20 years.
Approval was given at a meeting of The Highland Council during July 2020 to progress with the option to bring ICT services back in-house and to fast-track where possible ahead of the end of the 5-year initial outsourced contract term.
At this time, approval was also given to commence re-structuring the Council’s ICT team and to commence recruitment to key posts in the new structure.
Four significant key milestones have been achieved since the last report to Committee in August 2021:
• 1st October 2021 – Go-live of in-house Field Services team
• 1st October 2021 – Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) (TUPE) of Wipro Field Services team into the Council
• 1st November 2021 – Go-live of in-house Service Desk
• 1st November 2021 – TUPE of Wipro Service Desk team into the Council
Transfers of Wipro staff into the Council under the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) – TUPE – rules was only possible due to very effective joint working between Council ICT, HR and Payroll staff, Trade Union representatives, Wipro HR and the employees themselves. In total, 19 staff have transferred from Wipro so far.
Chair of the Corporate Resources Committee, Councillor Jimmy Gray, said: “Bringing services in-house will help to protect local skilled jobs. To provide support to all Council locations, technology will enable ICT support staff to be located in rural areas based at home or area offices. This is a real opportunity for the Council to act as a long-term hub for skilled ICT roles in the Highlands in a way that an outsourcing supplier working to a fixed term contract cannot do.”
Cllr Gray continued: “Work is now also underway to bring in another 5 Modern Apprentices as part of our commitment to the Council’s Modern Apprenticeship scheme.”
Recruitment to posts in the new ICT Services structure continues and the team size is now around 90FTE – more than double what it was in April 2021. Key areas where new recruits have joined the team recently have been in the field and service desk teams to provide greater resilience and to improve response times.
ICT Services will now move its focus to recruiting to some more specialist roles with the aim of having most of the structure in place by April 2022.