North Yorkshire ICT Partnership by etssetcf


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									North Yorkshire ICT Partnership
Pathfinder Case Study
December 2003

Local Auhority Partners:

York City Council
North Yorkshire County Council
Craven District Council
Hambleton District Council
Harrogate Borough Council
Richmondshire District Council
Ryedale District Council
Scarborough Borough Council
Selby District Council

Private Sector Partner:


A multi-authority strategic partnership with a private sector partner to deliver the e-
government agenda, develop a common technology platform and provide the
foundations to create centres of excellence throughout the county.
  Dave Shaw, Project Manager, York City Council


The project is a joint procurement exercise carried out by the nine local authority
partners, the North Yorkshire ICT Partnership (NYICTP), to achieve the following agreed
    • Achieve 100% electronic service delivery by 2005;
    • Joining up services internally and with other councils and agencies;
    • Maximise the potential and possibilities of joint procurement, sharing
        infrastructure, sharing risk and developing joint ventures;
    • Simplify, streamline and make the customer interface more accessible;
    • Increase the choice of access channels;
    • Improve measures of customer satisfaction;
            o Reduce transaction costs
            o Reducing the number of high transaction costs
            o Increasing the number of low cost self-service transactions
            o Increasing the number of ‘one hit’ transactions
            o Improving quality – right first time
            o Simplify processes to reduce the number of transactions
    • Manage information effectively;
    • Reduce the number of information systems;
    • Ensure compliance with e-government standards.

The partnership signed a concordat that appointed York City Council as the agent for the
partnership in carrying out the key procurement functions. The partnership went to the
market via OJEC through the ‘negotiated procedure’ route. The negotiated route was
selected as members of the partnership had different service requirements, thus making
it difficult to prepare a detailed specification that met the needs of each of the partners.
An Invitation to Negotiate was issued to three bidders following the shortlisting process.
Each bidder was asked to develop costed proposals to meet the needs of the
partnership. This procurement approach enabled the bidders to incorporate innovation
within their proposals, but complicated the evaluation exercise as the submissions
received from the bidders demonstrated significant differences in approach.

Agilysis was appointed as the preferred partner following the post tender evaluation
process in late 2002 and subsequently commenced post tender negotiations with the
partnership to define and agree the detail of the solution. The speed and complexity of
the negotiation process has resulted in the development of a “pre-contract agreement”
that will enable Agilysis to commence work prior to the signing of the formal contract
agreement. The pre-contract agreement will commit the partners to the project and has
the flexibility to enable additional partners to be included at a later stage. The agreement
is due to be signed by the end of October 2003. The timetable going forward is for the
signature of the contract to be reached by 31 December 2003.

By the end of 2003, 4 authorities had left the partnership, Craven, Harrogate,
Scarborough and Selby, with the pre-contract agreement progressing for signature by the
remaining 5 authorities.

Partnership model

The partnership has signed a Concordat that has shaped the nature of the partnership
relationship/model. The concordat includes a number of key objectives:

•   Openness and trust;
•   Commitment and drive;
•   Skills and creativity;
•   Effective relationships;
•   Developing and adaptive;
•   Continuous improvement.

These objectives have shaped the relationships of the partners and have been used to
maintain the original vision when difficult issues have been encountered.

Partnership Management

Relationships in a complex partnership of this nature are built through joint working and
close cooperation throughout. The Concordat included the creation of a project steering
group with a key representative from each local authority partner. This has subsequently
evolved into a Project Board attended by a Chief Officer from each of the partners. The
project board has taken the lead in managing the partnership and has acted as the forum
for the resolution of issues that cannot be resolved at other levels. The chair of the
project board has been instrumental in retaining the focus on the original vision.

Each representative on the project board has been appointed to lead on each specific
area e.g. finance, risk, contractual etc. This has served to ensure that no one partner is

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seen to exert undue influence, but may have had the effect of not always having the best
qualified resource to address the issue.

The project manager reports to the project board and has been responsible for ensuring
that the procurement project has been concluded with the appointment of Agilysis as the
preferred partner and the imminent signing of the pre-contract agreement. Effective
project management is essential in a complex project of this nature with the range of
stakeholder interests and considerable credit must be given to the project manager for
driving the project forward.

Key benefits

   •    The partnership will gain access to state of the art technology and achieve
        economies of scale from the joint procurement exercise.
   •    The common technology platform will provide opportunities for additional savings
        through the development of centres of excellence serving numerous partners.


   •    Other authorities may wish to share services with the NYICT partnership in
        individual project areas, or as a partner, to gain potential economies of scale,
        improved service quality and cost savings.
   •    The partnership model may be applied to other service areas within the
        partnership, to encourage wider joint working initiatives.


   •    The announcement of the local government review in response to the proposals
        for regional government has caused issues within the partnership and placed the
        signing of the contract by all partners at risk.
   •    The loss of partners through the local government review, or for other reasons,
        may place the partnership at risk through a reduction in scale causing affordability
   •    The complexity of the partnership arrangements, and the variation in service
        expectations may make ongoing delivery and client management difficult for the
        private sector partner.

Lessons learned

   •    Complex partnerships of this type require strong leadership to ensure that the
        original vision is delivered. It is essential to keep focused on the big picture and
        not get side-tracked by detail points.
   •    The allocation of roles within the partnership may be better focused at where the
        appropriate skills lie, rather than sharing the workload.
   •    Difficult issues need to be resolved at the earliest possible opportunity to ensure
        that the project vision is realistic and achievable and that all partners are fully
   •    It is essential to engage with all stakeholders often as possible and however
        much communication there is, it is never enough. The wide range of stakeholder
        interests has meant that it is important to have a clear communications strategy to
        prevent mis-understanding and ensure that unfounded rumours do not become
   •    Clear planning at all stages of the project is essential in a multi-authority
        partnership where different partners take the lead role on different topics, to
        ensure that delivery dates are met and all issues are robustly challenged.

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   •   Accepting the private sector partner as a partner, rather than a supplier is helpful
       in shaping the solution and developing the working relationships required for the
       project delivery.
   •   Securing government funding on this project has been unhelpful in the
       development of the partnership due to a conflict beyond revenue expenditure and
       capital grant.
   •   An achievable vision is essential in the first instance to test the robustness of the
       partnership, as an over-ambitious vision is likely to test any partnership to
       breaking point.
   •   Timescales need to be realistic as complex partnerships of this nature need time
       to develop and will take considerably longer than a traditional approach to

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