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A STRATEGY FOR

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A STRATEGY FOR Powered By Docstoc
					  A STRATEGY FOR
  INFORMATION,
COMMUNICATIONS &
   TECHNOLOGY

       IN

   EAST DORSET
DISTRICT COUNCIL




            January 2002
                                 CONTENTS



                                                            Page
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
Introduction                                                  5
Information Strategy                                          5
Electronic Government                                         8
Information Systems Strategy                                 10
Technology Strategy                                          12

INTRODUCTION
Foreword                                                     16
Vision                                                       16
Business Drivers – Council Strategy & Key Priorities         17
                   Best Value                                18
                   E-Government                              18
                   Euro                                      18
                   Modernising Council Decision Making       19
                   Exclusion                                 19
                   Working Together                          19
                    Council Tax Levels                       20
Business Partners – Government & Government Agencies         20
                    Other Local Authorities                  20
                    Local Agencies & the Voluntary Sector    21
Culture                                                      21
Training                                                     22
Organisation – Decision Making & Monitoring                  22
               Management & Implementation                   23
               Disaster Recovery                             24
               Acquisition Policy                            24

INFORMATION STRATEGY
Core Values for Information                                  26
Data Protection                                              26
Information Management                                       27
The Paperless Office                                         28
Access to External Information                               30
Information & Employees                                      30
Information & Customers                                      31
Information & Democracy                                      33




                                    2
                                                 Page
ELECTRONIC GOVERNMENT STRATEGY
Definition                                        34
Vision                                            34
Strategy                                          34
Targets                                           36
Security & Privacy                                37
Access to Service Strategy                        37
Procurement                                       39
Appointment of E-Champions                        39
Timescale for Services to Become Available        39
Opportunities to Deliver Early Results            40
Scope for Decommissioning Existing Channels       40
Skills & Training                                 40

INFORMATION SYSTEMS STRATEGY
Systems Overview                                  42
I.T. Systems – Council Tax                        42
               Benefits                           42
               Business Rates                     42
               Community Charge                   42
               Cash Receipting                    43
               General Ledger                     43
               Creditors                          43
               Bank Reconciliation                43
               Debtors                            43
               Miscellaneous Income Allocation    44
               Mortgage Administration            44
               Payroll                            44
               Payroll Interface                  44
               Leisure Booking                    44
               Electoral Registration             45
               Environmental Health               45
               Licensing                          45
               Corporate Management System        45
               Land Charges                       45
               Planning                           46
               Enforcement                        46
               Building Control                   46
               G.I.S.                             46
               Excess Charge Notices              47
               Concessionary Fares                47
               Leisure Administration System      47
               Moors Valley Season Tickets        47
Systems Summary                                   48



                                    3
                                                                           Page
Manual Systems – Asset Management                                           49
                  Title Deeds & Legal Agreements                            49
                  Personnel Records                                         49
Software Standards                                                          49
Other Standards – Systems Development                                       50
                  Security                                                  50
                  Programming                                               51
                  Data Control                                              51
Performance Monitoring – Service Level Agreements                           51
                           Fault Reporting                                  51
                           Network & System Availability                    51
                           Network Activity                                 51
                           Project Development                              52
Operating System Strategy                                                   52
Systems Development Strategy                                                53
Application Service Provision                                               54

TECHNOLOGY STRATEGY
Technology Architecture                                                     55
Overview of Current Infrastructure                                          55
Thin Client                                                                 56
Storage Area Networks                                                       56
I.T. Control of Mobile Phones & Radios                                      57
I.T. Control of Network Printing                                            57
Gaps in Provision or Over-Provision                                         57
Communication Links                                                         58
Virtual Private Network                                                     59
Collaborative Applications                                                  59
Emerging Technologies – Mobile Phones                                       60
                           Personal Digital Assistants                      60
                           Interactive Digital TV                           60
                           Biometrics                                       61
                           WAP/Wireless Web                                 61
                           Bluetooth                                        61
                           Voice Over I.P.                                  62
                           Speech Recognition                               62
                           XML                                              62
                           Smart Cards                                      63
                           Digital Subscriber Line & Cable Data Services    63

IMPLEMENTATION
Action Plan                                                                 64

Bibliography                                                                68



                                     4
                 1.     EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
                           Introduction
1.1   An Information, Communications and Technology (ICT) strategy
      is needed to inform and guide the Council in the development of
      its services. It seeks to answer three basic questions :
       a) Where are we now?
       b) Where do we want to be?
       c) How do we get there?
      In addition, it seeks to guide the Council in the development of
      services and to support the Council‘s strategic plan.
1.2   The ICT Strategy has the following objectives :
      a) To enable the citizens and staff of East Dorset, and visitors to
         the area, to play a full role in the growth of the Information
         Society.
      b) To encourage the use of systems oriented to citizens, staff
         and visitors, based on access to relevant, up-to-date
         information.
      c) To improve the efficiency and change the culture of the
         Council through the provision of effective, easy-to-use
         methods of communication.
      d) To promote the use of ICT as a strategic tool to improve
         existing services and to develop new methods of service
         delivery.
                      Information Strategy
1.3   The basis of East Dorset‘s Information Strategy relies on the
      Council identifying those items or areas about which information
      needs to be held. Each data item would need to be assigned an
      owner whose responsibility would be to ensure that the
      information is kept up to date.
1.4   Many of the developments involving property data are being
      undertaken as part of the GIS project. The GIS system will be the
      central method of accessing all property data, providing a
      common interface for a range of systems relying on property or
      other geographically related data.




                                 5
1.5    Most of the information on staff is held within the Personnel
       Division in either computerised or manual form. It would
       therefore make sense to centralise this information within a staff
       database which can be made available for other systems to
       access on a controlled basis. Some of this data is currently held
       within the Corporate Management System and the potential to
       expand this to provide a more comprehensive solution needs to
       be examined.
1.6    Many of the Council‘s systems will be specifically organised to
       store information on the District‘s residents. It would only be
       appropriate to store basic details common to all systems, such
       as name and address, which would reduce some of the
       complexity and provide a solution to one of the problems of
       ensuring that data is kept up to date to the benefit of residents.
1.7    Looking to the future more systems will be available to residents
       on-line as the electronic government initiative is developed. In
       order to provide individualised data, for example the balance
       outstanding on a Council Tax account, it will be necessary for
       users to prove their identity. This should ideally be addressed
       through national or regional initiatives such as UK Online or a
       Dorset-wide information portal.
1.8    The continuing development of the intranet and internet will
       enable large swathes of paper to be eliminated. A major impact
       has already been achieved with the development of the
       Corporate Management System and the associated information
       on the Council‘s website. This will need development to
       enhance its facilities even further.
1.9    Developing the Council‘s Intranet is vital in supporting a joined-
       up approach to service provision. If staff are to provide a face-
       to-face information service to the general public then it is vital
       that they have all the information needed to deal with the
       enquiry readily to hand. This is best supplied through access to
       computer records of information being held on individuals and
       the intranet would be the logical way of delivering this
       information.
1.10   The use of document scanning within the Council needs to be
       substantially developed. Not only would electronic storage of
       scanned documents allow information to be much more widely
       available to individuals but storage requirements could also be
       dramatically reduced. There is no department of the Council
       which could not benefit from some form of document
       management.




                                  6
1.11   Increasing use of the Internet is being made by managers as
       part of their normal work. The recent work undertaken to the
       Council‘s Internet facilities has improved the security of this
       medium and speeded up access times. Expanding the
       availability of internet access brings with it the need to actively
       manage the use made of the facility by staff. It should be the
       objective of the Council to provide the facility to all members of
       staff but this brings with it two other issues:
       monitoring staff use of the facility
       improving the capacity to handle the additional traffic.
1.12   Changes in communications technology are making the
       prospect of employees working outside of the office
       environment more and more of a practicality. There is a growing
       argument for removing the need to provide office
       accommodation for employees on a partial or even full basis. It
       should be a feasible target to identify a suitable pilot group
       within the Council to test the practicality of remote working on a
       part time basis within the next two years.
1.13   Members could also benefit from the same technology to reduce
       their dependence on the Council‘ offices. Consideration needs
       to be given at an early stage to the issues involved in providing
       Members with IT equipment in order to carry out their duties
       following the deployment of the new committee minutes system.
1.14   The advent of widespread Internet use over the coming years
       will require a radical shift in the way that the Council does its
       business. Basic enquiries (such as the Council Tax property
       banding or planning applications affecting a property) could be
       accessible directly by the customer on a 24 hour per day 365
       days per year basis without the need to telephone or visit the
       Council offices. This would reduce the level of customer
       enquiries which need to be dealt with by officers, thus
       increasing efficiency and cost effectiveness.
1.15   Information can also be tailored to the needs of a particular
       customer. Entering simple information, such as a post code,
       should enable a range of information to be displayed relevant to
       a particular visitor.
1.16   The Council has recognised the need for improving the
       communication skills of its residents by becoming involved in
       the establishment of the Community Learning Centre in
       Wimborne. Similar projects may be of benefit in the other urban
       centres of Ferndown and Verwood if suitable funding can be
       secured.




                                    7
1.17   The Council can provide the facilities for the customer to supply
       information required for various services through the use of
       interactive forms. The payment of any bills through the Internet
       using credit cards could be accommodated into the Council‘s
       site although there may be some resistance to the use of this
       medium because of security fears.
1.18   The democratic process itself could also be enhanced through
       the use of Internet technology. The ability to use the medium to
       interact with the customer makes it ideal for consulting the
       public with regard to the Council‘s plans. The Council could set
       up a local discussion forum where residents are able to discuss
       issues of local importance and place their views on bulletin
       boards, providing valuable feedback on current issues which
       could be used in the formulation of policy.
                      Electronic Government
1.19   It is our vision to provide a comprehensive, widely accessible,
       and secure electronic informational and transactional facility for
       the citizens and businesses of, and visitors to, East Dorset; and to
       share information and resources between the area's public
       service providers to enhance efficiency and effectiveness by
       2005.
1.20   The County and District Councils of Dorset, together with the
       unitary authorities of Bournemouth and Poole, will work with
       partners from the broader public sector to provide widely
       available, internet-based access to the area's public services
       and comprehensive information for citizens, businesses and
       visitors through a portal acting as a point of entry to e-Dorset
       services.
1.21   In order for the portal to function effectively each council will
       need to electronically enable its back office systems. This work
       represents a significant challenge to this Council, where
       resources are severely constrained. The Council‘s longer term
       aim is to refocus its major systems around the electronic service
       delivery ethos to achieve the necessary step change in the way
       that services are delivered to, and perceived by, the citizen.
1.22   There are also a range of national portals, such as the national
       planning portal. The Council will need to ensure that information
       can be supplied to these portals in order for citizens and other
       users to benefit from this national approach. This will require the
       adoption of national schemas as discussed in the Technology
       Strategy.




                                  8
1.23   The Council is currently reviewing its security policy with a view
       to achieving compliance with British Standard BS7799.
       Procedures for ensuring compliance with data protection
       legislation are also being reviewed. The issue will be a key
       factor in the implementation of the e-Dorset portal and will need
       to be agreed with the Council‘s various partners.
1.24   The primary access facility planned by the Council revolves
       around its own website facilities and the development of the e-
       Dorset portal. Both of these projects envisage wide access
       through a variety of devices, including digital television,
       wireless 3rd generation devices and personal digital assistants,
       e-mail, PC/Kiosks and voice.
1.25   The Council already accepts credit and debit card payments for
       all services over the telephone. Transaction processing on the
       website will require the upgrading of the Council‘s Cash
       Receipting system to provide the necessary interface. The
       Council will need to decide whether to use its own in-house
       resources to upgrade the system or whether to procure a
       suitable replacement system from a third party supplier.
1.26   It is impractical and too expensive for the Council to invest the
       resources required to develop its own call centre. If such a
       facility is to be provided it will be dependent upon the success
       of the e-Dorset portal. However, following the introduction of the
       digital switchboard the Council will examine the desirability
       and feasibility of providing menu access for callers to reach the
       required destination or to access relevant information through
       their telephone.
1.27   Providing up-to-date customer information to the person
       receiving the call will enable a much improved service to be
       provided. A Customer Relationship Management system is
       envisaged to be part of the e-Dorset portal but this will, in turn,
       need to rely on other facilities to provide the information
       required.
1.28   Electronic procurement could help to streamline the whole
       process of procuring goods and services. It is already feasible
       to introduce procurement cards for use by staff in ordering low
       value goods, although the audit and security aspects would
       need to be considered carefully. The introduction of such
       facilities should be considered as a priority.
1.29   More complex procurement involving tendering can also be
       electronically enabled and work has already been done at a
       central Government level on this through Tender Trust. The
       Council already uses some centralised processes, facilitated
       through Government, to vet suppliers and should now consider
       whether this should be extended to electronic tendering.



                                  9
1.30   Following the restructuring of the committee system, in
       response to the Local Government Act 2000, the Council will
       appoint an e-champion from among its elected representatives.
1.31   The Council has already addressed some high volume services,
       such as Planning, where weekly planning applications are
       available for viewing online. Other high volume services such as
       Council Tax and Benefits are provided on older legacy systems.
       The Council will need to examine options for making these
       services fully available electronically.
1.32   Online access to personal information could be provided once
       security and authentication issues are resolved. Since this is part
       of the e-Dorset portal project these facilities are unlikely to be
       realised until 2004.
1.33   The Council has embarked on a training programme to ensure
       that all of its staff have the necessary skills to support the move
       to electronically enabled citizens. All staff are expected to have
       achieved the minimum standard for computer skills, based on
       modules of the European Computer Driving Licence by 2004.
                  Information Systems Strategy
1.34   Increasing numbers of people will have access to the internet
       and the browser software necessary to access data. This
       software is also universally available to Council employees
       through their PCs. There is therefore good reason to examine
       the need to make the Council‘s systems accessible using
       browser software for those who require only occasional access.
1.35   Microsoft Office will be the standard product for providing PC
       applications. Service Managers will be able to provide other
       packages for their business use funded from their own budgets
       but these products should only be used where there is a clear
       and justifiable business requirement to move away from the
       corporate products or where the corporate products do not
       cover their particular business needs.
1.36   For any major investment that has had a business case produced
       a formal approach to project management should be applied.
       All projects should be managed to a common methodology
       based on the principles of PRINCE2. This methodology needs to
       be published and adopted as a corporate document for IT
       projects.
1.37   Service Level Agreements (SLAs) are being introduced with new
       systems development and seek to set down standards of service
       provision between the IT Division and the system user.




                                 10
1.38   A number of the current legacy systems rely on the Reality-X on
       NT operating system. The age of these systems means that a
       number of them will be considered for replacement or
       development in the near future. Savings could be achieved by
       migrating systems onto the Windows NT operating system. This
       could be easily achieved for the smaller systems but the Council
       would need to consider the best strategy for migrating the
       larger systems. These major systems are ideal for joint provision
       with other local authorities.
1.39   The Council currently uses a number of desktop operating
       systems, including Windows 95, Windows 98 and Windows NT.
       These products have been superseded by Windows 2000 and
       Windows XP. It is important to achieve a common desktop
       environment to improve security and the ICT Division‘s ability to
       support users. The most appropriate desktop solution will need
       to be determined taking into account the cost of transition and
       the software development strategy.
1.40   Two key systems stand out for major development work having
       taken account of the Council‘s key business needs:
       Planning
       Cash Receipting
       Both systems are major systems operating on the Reality X
       operating system and need to be migrated onto a Windows
       platform.
1.41   The Planning system is one of the oldest systems still in use and
       is proving unreliable in its operation. Consultation has shown
       that Planning is one of the key areas where the public expect to
       see information on the Council‘s website. Although a short term
       solution has been achieved using information generated from
       the current system a new system could be implemented which
       would provide an electronically enabled system operating from
       a customer perspective. The Planning Department are
       examining whether the best solution to their business
       requirements should be provided through a third party product
       or an in-house solution.
1.42   Although it is a newer and much more stable system the Cash
       Receipting system has the potential to fulfil a key objective of
       the Council‘s E-Government Strategy – transaction processing.
       By redesigning the Cash Receipting system it would be possible
       to allow customers to use the Council‘s website to pay a variety
       bills and therefore achieve a key goal of providing a
       transactional website.




                                 11
1.43   A referendum on joining the single currency is expected within
       the life of the current Parliament which brings the prospect of
       the UK joining the single currency a step nearer. The Cash
       Receipting system would be a key element in the Council‘s plan
       to implement the change in currencies if the decision is made to
       adopt the Euro in the UK.
                       Technology Strategy
1.44   With the intended introduction of electronic document
       management, along with the changing ways that information is
       and will be accessed by other local authorities, public bodies
       and the citizen themselves, the Council must evaluate its storage
       management infrastructure. A well-implemented storage area
       network (SAN) can create consolidated storage that results in a
       dramatic improvement in the efficiency of storage management.
       This will result in an increase in the reliability and cost
       effectiveness of the storage for network-centric applications.
1.45   The ICT Division has recently taken on the provision of services
       for fixed line telecommunications. With communications
       becoming more integrated with ICT, it would make sense for the
       Division to have responsibility for all communications. This
       would enable one service to provide the most informed advice
       across all areas. It is also more likely that cost savings could be
       made.
1.46   The ICT Division is responsible for the provision of computer
       printing services and provides all central, workgroup and
       desktop printers.       With the advances in technology,
       photocopiers are now coming in with network printing
       capabilities. Photocopiers are the responsibility of the graphics
       and print unit. Although both IT and graphics do discuss
       requirements, the user must talk with two service areas for
       possibly one solution. With IT having responsibility for all
       network printing, the right solution at the best price is likely to
       be achieved.
1.47   The infrastructure for the technology provision is generally
       good. However, a number of critical points of failure do exist
       that need to be addressed. This is further enhanced by the
       necessity to make services available over the Internet on a 24x7
       basis.
1.48   Areas of over provision include desktop computer printing
       facilities and mobile computing. Many staff have access to
       ―personal‖ printers rather than more effective network printers;
       a situation which has arisen historically as working practices
       have not responded to changes in network capability. Laptop
       computers have also become more widely used as their
       capabilities have increased, but these often supplement existing
       desk top machines.


                                 12
1.49   The council currently has a number of Wide Area Network
       (WAN) connections from Furzehill to other facilities. Some of
       these services are adequate, whereas others will require
       significant upgrades, if they are to cope with increasing loads.
       This is particularly true for the Internet Service connection,
       which must cope with additional e-commerce traffic and public
       use of additional web based services and information. Its
       current copper connection does not have sufficient potential
       bandwidth to accommodate the expected increase in traffic, and
       will need to be transferred to the scalable fibre optic links,
       which are now available at the Furzehill site.
1.50   The consolidation of individual Basic Rate ISDN lines into a
       single 2 Mbits Primary Rate ISDN connection would also have
       several advantages:
         lower overall line rental costs
         choice of carrier based on least cost routing
         greater bandwidth for short burst, high volume traffic
         better reliability of fibre optic link
         extended services such as video conferencing
       Other services could be transferred to Broadband technologies
       such as ADSL, which has recently become available from
       Ferndown and Wimborne telephone exchanges.
1.51   Virtual Private Networks (VPN‘s) represent a flexible method to
       create private connections over untrusted networks. A pilot
       programme is already underway covering remote-access
       connections, trying to migrate users away from dial-up access to
       the private network and from direct-dial calls.
1.52   The mobile phone is rapidly becoming the medium of choice for
       personal voice communications. In the not too distant future, it is
       expected its reach will exceed that of the PC/Internet channel.
       The mobile phone can be used actively and passively for real-
       time (voice) and asynchronous (text and voice) communications.
       Unlike any other channel, it offers the promise of location-
       specific messages, although privacy concerns could limit the
       use of these. This council at present sees it as a method of alert
       (i.e. text message) as opposed to a main channel of
       communication.
1.53   Personal Digital Assistants (PDA) are under utilised within the
       council at present. They have a part to play in mobile working.
       With the necessary resources, major benefit can be utilised as
       the technology develops. It is expected that within a couple of
       years a large proportion of new PDAs will use wireless
       technology for direct access to Web content and private
       networks. There is no standardisation at present.



                                   13
1.54   Interactive digital TV, like regular TV, is a good channel
       because of its multimedia features. British households today are
       almost as likely to have home access to interactive TV as they do
       to PCs with Internet access. Besides being easier for citizens to
       use, it is likely to deliver a more meaningful message.
1.55   Since interactive TV is emotionally engaging, it is particularly
       well suited for building awareness. There are also many
       varieties of interactive marketing for this platform, including
       sponsorship and advertising. The business environment is
       different from the Web, as most interactive TV networks will
       have "gatekeepers" that control access to subscribers through
       proprietary interfaces.    It is a technology that must be
       incorporated into the Council‘s future planning.
1.56   Biometric authentication confirms a person's identity based on
       physical or behavioural characteristics that are hard to forge.
       There are a number of potential applications for this council e.g.
       voter registration, physical access, etc. The technology (in
       particular, fingerprint recognition) has reached a level of
       price/performance that makes it attractive as a corporate
       security technique and in an increasing variety of other
       applications (e.g. mobile or Web transactions). However, until
       biometrics is integrated into devices, rather than being
       delivered as a peripheral, it will not be widely used.
1.57   WAP mobile phones are the best channel for urgent alerts
       because their "always on" feature enables mobile phone users
       to be reached wherever they are. This council does not see
       them as a primary channel at present due to the speed and lack
       of content delivery.
1.58   Voice over IP (VoIP) relates to the transmission of voice as
       digitised packets over data networks. It has been long touted as
       a big cost saver for companies. The telephone switch installed at
       Furzehill is ‗IP ready‘ and the network is already able to
       accommodate voice and data. However, although calling
       charges are smaller (voice data is compressed and sent over
       data lines at marginal rates) the nature and volume of calls at
       this time make it unlikely that significant savings can be made.
1.59   Speech recognition systems can interpret human speech and
       translate it into text or commands. Speech recognition is
       attracting significant attention as a strong candidate in mobile
       systems, where alternative input approaches are cumbersome
       (many Internet service providers already allow retrieval of e-
       mail or messages through voice led instruction). Within the
       council where dictation is used, trials are about to start on the
       viability of introduction on a wider scale.




                                 14
1.60   The government has made a strategic decision to use Extensible
       Mark-up Language (XML) as the main standard for data
       integration. This strategy includes provision of XML schemas for
       use throughout the public sector based on a set of agreed data
       standards. This council will adopt these schemas when available
       and we are in a position to use them.
1.61   The provision of cable within the council‘s boundary is limited,
       whereas the provision of DSL in some areas is coming on stream
       now. The Council must look to DSL for an increase in reliability
       and speed along with potential cost savings as it becomes more
       widely available.




                                15
                           2.    INTRODUCTION
2. Foreword
   2.1   An Information, Communications and Technology (ICT) strategy
         is needed to inform and guide the Council in the development of
         its services. It seeks to answer three basic questions :
            a) Where are we now?
            b) Where do we want to be?
            c) How do we get there?
            In addition, it seeks to guide the Council in the development of
            services and to support the Council‘s strategic plan.
   2.2   Whilst the changes in technology are relatively easy to
         recognise it is less easy to determine what the organisational
         and business implications of this new technology might be. The
         ICT Strategy therefore looks beyond the technology to identify
         the business needs of the Council and how these might be
         influenced and supported by the emerging technology. This will
         enable the Council to shape the use of new technologies for its
         own business objectives rather than reacting to new
         opportunities.
   2.3   The District Council is an extensive user of information and a
         very large proportion of its operations consist of collecting,
         processing and transmitting information. Much of this
         information remains paper based despite the large increase in
         the use of ICT over the last five years.
   2.4   Since 1994 the number of PCs within the organisation has
         increased to an extent such that all staff, with one or two
         exceptions, have access to a personal computer. All terminals
         have been replaced by PCs and the vast majority of the
         Council‘s staff are now dependent on their IT facilities to carry
         out their jobs.
   2.5   Despite all this progress the Council still relies on manual paper
         systems for much of its communications and it is this area which
         is likely see the biggest developments in terms of ICT over the
         next five years.


3. Vision
   3.1   The ICT Strategy has the following objectives :
            a) To enable the citizens and staff of East Dorset, and visitors to
               the area, to play a full role in the growth of the Information
               Society.




                                      16
         b) To encourage the use of systems oriented to citizens, staff
            and visitors, based on access to relevant, up-to-date
            information.
         c) To improve the efficiency and change the culture of the
            Council through the provision of effective, easy-to-use
            methods of communication.
         d) To promote the use of ICT as a strategic tool to improve
            existing services and to develop new methods of service
            delivery.
   3.2   National strategic objectives are also becoming more
         widespread, for example, the e-government targets and the
         National Land Information System, and the ICT Strategy will help
         to inform the Council‘s response to these initiatives.
   3.3   The output from the ICT Strategy will therefore be instrumental
         in informing the individual business plans of services, shaping
         the Council‘s ICT Development Plan and developing the ICT
         support structure that the Council needs to carry out its business
         in the 21st century.

4. Business Drivers
   Council Strategy & Key Priorities
   4.1   The Council is in the process of developing a Community
         Strategy and the ICT Strategy as set out in this document will
         need to be reviewed in the light of the priorities agreed
         between the Council, its partners and its citizens.
   4.2   The Council does not have a formal Corporate Strategy but it has
         agreed a range of key priorities based around People, Places
         and Prosperity. ICT will contribute indirectly to all of these
         priorities through the support provided to the Council‘s front
         line services. In some areas however, ICT is itself a front line
         service and this aspect is likely to grow as electronic service
         delivery expands. Specifically, key priorities PE2 (to promote a
         better informed and responsible community through agencies,
         organisations and individuals) and PE3 (to provide accessible
         services to residents and visitors) can be directly facilitated
         through electronic service delivery. A contribution can also be
         made to PL2 (to promote waste reduction, re-use and recycling)
         through the expansion of electronic forms of communication and
         storage.




                                   17
Best Value
4.3   All areas of the Council‘s activities are being systematically
      reviewed over a five year period under the Best Value initiative.
      This review process involves a fundamental analysis of the
      performance and future direction of each service. The output
      from these reviews will be instrumental in informing the
      Council‘s policy planning process. The impact that ICT can
      make in developing the Council‘s services is an integral part of
      this review process and the output from Best Value reviews will
      be an essential driver of the ICT strategy.
E-Government
4.4   Central Government expects local authorities to be making
      increasing use of information and communications technology to
      deliver services. Targets are already in place for the electronic
      delivery of services by Government departments and have
      been extended to local authorities through Best Value targets.
      The national targets envisage 25% of all services to be
      accessible electronically by 2002 and 100% by 2005.
4.5   In order to measure progress in achieving these targets the
      Government has introduced a new Best Value performance
      indicator (BV157) to measure the number of transaction
      processes being delivered electronically. The Council‘s degree
      of compliance has been measured using guidance prepared by
      the Society of Information Technology Managers (SOCITM); this
      shows that 23.5% of services are currently being delivered
      electronically.
4.6   The targets set out do not simply represent an exercise to
      measure progress in providing services over the internet. The
      electronic government initiative seeks to achieve a ―step
      change‖ in the way that services are delivered, so that service
      delivery is transformed to focus on the needs of the customer.
      This will present a significant challenge in re-engineering
      services.
The Euro
4.7   Whilst the UK government has not yet given a commitment to
      joining the single European currency (the Euro) the stated
      policy is to be ready for its introduction should the decision to
      join be taken. Any ICT strategy adopted by the Council must
      therefore incorporate the possible adoption of the single
      currency and the impact that this would have. The principle
      implications for the ICT strategy would be in terms of
      information storage, systems development and hardware
      purchasing.




                                18
Modernising Council Decision Making
4.8    Modernising Council decision making is not simply about
       changing the internal structures within the organisation. It
       includes measures to increase participation in local elections
       and other forms of communication with the local community,
       such as local referenda, consultation exercises or citizens‘
       panels. ICT can have a key role to play in developing processes
       which will enhance the Council‘s ability to carry out its more
       general modernising agenda.
4.9    ICT will also be able to assist in the drive to streamline decision
       making, by providing the information needed by officers to
       exercise effective delegation of authority.
Exclusion
4.10   There is potential for major sections of the population to be
       excluded from the benefits of the information revolution,
       whether this is because of poverty, lack of appropriate skills or
       other social or economic factors. The Council will need to
       ensure that its strategy for using ICT to enhance its services also
       addresses the needs of those least able to benefit from these
       new approaches.
4.11   One of the main challenges facing the Council is how it can
       provide services to a remote rural population who find difficulty
       in travelling to the offices at Furzehill. There are clearly major
       opportunities to use information and communications
       technologies to address the issue of rural isolation.
Working Together
4.12   There is potential for the future review of both local government
       services and boundaries. The creation of the Regional
       Development Agencies will question the continuing need for
       multi-tiered government in England and it is likely that at some
       point in the future proposals for the extension of unitary
       government will be resurrected.
4.13   The Government is also examining local government functions.
       In terms of District Council services proposals are being
       examined for the transfer of benefits to the Department of Work
       and Pensions (DWP).
4.14   In responding to the e-government agenda the Council will also
       need to ensure that service provision appears seamless to the
       user. In order to achieve this the Council is working with other
       local authorities and the private sector to develop a Dorset
       portal.




                                 19
   Council Tax Levels
   4.15   One of the key business drivers of the Council is the desire to
          contain increases in Council Tax at, or below, the prevailing rate
          of inflation. This policy would therefore support initiatives within
          the ICT strategy which would reduce the cost of providing
          Council services but at the same time may make it more difficult
          to provide investment for ICT initiatives.

5. Business Partners
   5.1    The Council‘s business partners fall into three main categories :
          a) Government and Government Agencies
              The Government has a substantial influence on the work and
              objectives of local authorities in its role in setting national
              objectives and targets. Much of the Council‘s business is
              directed by Government and implementing these
              objectives relies on information provided by and through
              Government. The setting and monitoring of these objectives
              may also be delegated to Government agencies such as the
              Audit Commission, District Audit, the Best Value
              Inspectorate and the Benefit Fraud Inspectorate.
              The Council may rely on one or more of these agencies to
              facilitate work on specific issues, such as data matching to
              combat benefit fraud, and will need to implement common
              data exchange formats.
              Other national objectives can only be achieved through
              partnership working with other Government Agencies such
              as the NHS and Health Authorities. This work will require the
              exchange of information between the Council and its
              partners.
          b) Other Local Authorities
              The Council also works in partnership with other local
              authorities at various levels. National groups, such as the
              Improvement and Development Agency (IDeA), are
              promoting a range of projects within which the Council is
              participating, including the National Land and Property
              Gazetteer (NLPG), the National Land Information Service
              (NLIS) and the National Electoral Register Hub (NERH). The
              Council will also be working with the Regional Development
              Agencies and the County and Unitary Councils in the upper
              tier where the exchange of information will be an important
              requirement.
              The Council will also be working with its neighbours and
              other interest groups at a District Council level which will
              also require information exchange.



                                     20
             Parish and Town Councils in the lower tier will also be
             closely involved in the Council‘s activities as part of the
             Town and Parish Council Charter. The District Council may
             be requested to act as a resource provider, for example in
             the hosting of Town and Parish Council websites, although
             managing such sights would be beyond the Council‘s
             resources.
             Greater joint working in this way will assist in maintaining
             common standards (for example, the use of consistent
             domain names) and will contribute to a seamless view of
             provision for service users.
         c) Local Agencies and the Voluntary Sector
             Some Council functions are discharged by other local
             agencies such as Housing Associations or are assisted or
             facilitated by voluntary groups. This may include initiatives
             such as the joint mapping of geographical distributions e.g.
             poverty mapping or property condition surveys.
             In addressing the needs of these various groups the Council
             will need to consider the best method of achieving effective
             joint working. The Council‘s partners will need to be
             identified and links provided to sources of information.

6. Culture
   6.1   Despite the dramatic spread of ICT throughout the Council there
         still remains some resistance to using the technology to its full
         potential which pervades all levels of the organisation to varying
         degrees. This may be due to either a fear of the new medium
         through lack of familiarity or through a lack of appreciation of
         the capabilities of the technology. At the other extreme
         individuals are seeking to push the limits of what can be
         achieved in quite unstructured ways, largely through a lack of
         strategic direction and corporate standards and guidelines.
   6.2   The ICT strategy for the Council has not been published since
         1994 and no clear vision of where the Council is going in terms
         of its information needs and technology deployment exists.
         Developments in recent years have been characterised as
         ―technology by stealth‖ and whilst this has been useful in
         introducing new ideas and technology it has led to an
         unstructured and haphazard approach which invariably has
         resulted in unforeseen problems and sometimes expensive
         reappraisals of requirements.




                                   21
   6.3   This essentially laissez-faire attitude to ICT has allowed users
         nearly unconstrained freedom with regard to their PCs and,
         although policies do exist to restrain users, monitoring has been
         minimal and disciplinary action rarely taken. To address this
         issue policies and procedures need to be freely available and
         widely publicised, using the intranet, for example. The
         recording of what policies users have seen and agreed needs to
         be addressed. Ideally training sessions or briefings need to take
         place annually on topics such as IT security and data protection,
         with follow up action for absentees.
7. Training
   7.1   The development and adoption of a longer term ICT strategy
         would do much to promote the effective deployment and use of
         information systems and technology within the Council. This
         would need to be supplemented by clear, published standards
         and guidance advising users on how new systems which are
         subsequently introduced should be used.
   7.2   The second key element in developing the effective use of the
         Council‘s information systems is training. This has also been a
         haphazard process in the past with users, in many cases,
         developing their skills through experimentation. Training in
         basic computer skills and applications is essential before
         substantial gains can be made in the effective use of the new
         information systems being developed. Ideally an intensive
         period of training covering the corporate information systems
         should be identified for each new employee joining the Council.
   7.3   This issue has been addressed through identifying a specific
         officer for organising this training and adopting a technology
         based training approach. However, the take up of the training
         has not been as effective as anticipated and the approach to the
         training provision will need to be reviewed.

8. Organisation
   Decision Making and Monitoring
   8.1   The Finance & Resources Committee sets the broad policies and
         considers recommendations from the ICT Working Party, a joint
         working group of officers and Members representing all
         departments of the Council. The Working Party is able to
         consider issues in depth and from a wide range of perspectives.
         One of the primary roles of the Working Party is to agree and
         monitor the Council‘s IT Development Plan. The Working Party
         also carries out an important review function through the
         examination of Post Implementation Reviews of new systems.




                                   22
8.2   The introduction of a business case for any major investment,
      whether hardware or software, should be considered by the ICT
      Working Party. This allows examination and prioritisation of
      both corporate and individual service initiatives.
8.3   The overall work of the IT Division is monitored through the
      Finance & Resources Overview & Scrutiny Committee, which
      examines performance indicators and progress against agreed
      action plans.
8.4   This structure encourages collective commitment to a common
      purpose,     inter-departmental   communications   and   the
      commitment of senior management to ICT.
Management and Implementation
8.5   The responsibility for ICT is based within the Chief Executive‘s
      Department under the Head of Finance & ICT. Day-to-day
      management of the IT Division is the responsibility of the ICT
      Manager, with the Division being broken down into IT Support,
      Systems Development and administration.
8.6   The Division‘s main focus is on the support of the ICT hardware
      infrastructure, the back office and corporate applications and
      the support and development of in-house applications. An
      advisory service is also provided to Members and officers.
      Whilst analysis of business processes in undertaken when
      designing new systems there are currently no resources to carry
      out systematic business analysis. This would cover not just
      system working but service, inter-service and inter-organisation
      working and its provision should be considered as an aid to
      improving working practices throughout the Council using ICT.
8.7   The IT Support section is responsible for installing and
      supporting the Council‘s ICT hardware. As more and more
      reliance is placed upon information and communications
      technology to deliver essential services, to internal and external
      users alike, greater emphasis must also be placed upon the
      means to support this infrastructure. The ability to remotely
      access individual PCs from the IT Division has been
      implemented. This has already allowed a hardware and software
      inventory to be compiled and will also be used to install
      upgrades and other software without the need to be present at
      individual machines.
8.8   In order to improve the diagnostic and fault fixing capabilities of
      the IT Support Section IT Helpdesk software needs to be
      acquired, or developed, and implemented. The ideal solution is
      an integrated service desk providing data on fault progress over
      the Council‘s intranet. The system would also be capable of
      managing the Council‘s ICT assets and software licensing.




                                23
8.9    The main benefits of such a solution would be improved
       monitoring of faults, improving the rate at which faults are fixed,
       providing data which would allow the wider introduction of
       Service Level Agreements and providing data for benchmarking
       purposes.
8.10   The Systems Development section encompasses a range of
       skills, including Geographic Information Systems (GIS), Internet
       and Intranet development, visual basic programming, change
       control and user training.
Disaster Recovery
8.11   The Council does not yet have a formal business recovery plan
       to inform its response to an emergency which would put its
       services at risk and this is being developed as a matter of
       priority through the work of the Council‘s Risk Management
       Group. The Group has completed its initial work but the
       completion of the plan is dependent on securing the resources
       to implement the ICT elements. Decisions on additional funding
       are required from Members to finalise the Plan.
Acquisition Policy
8.12   The Council sources its ICT requirements in a number of ways.
       Major systems are sourced either through third party suppliers
       or in-house development depending on the most cost effective
       solution. In-house developments are also examined for their
       commercial potential and partnership arrangements may be
       entered into with private sector suppliers in appropriate cases.
8.13   Hardware is acquired from external providers through a process
       of open competitive tendering in line with the Council‘s
       Standing Orders. In order to respond to the convergence of
       information and communications technology the IT Division took
       responsibility for the Council‘s telephone systems from March
       2000. This included the installation of the Council‘s new digital
       switchboard in July 2000.
8.14   The budgets for PC hardware have been traditionally distributed
       to service managers to be managed individually. However, this
       has proved an ineffective way of ensuring that PC hardware
       remains up to date and responsive to the changing needs of
       service managers. The budgets for PC hardware were therefore
       centralised within the IT Division in April 2000 and a programme
       of PC replacement developed.




                                 24
8.15   Hardware purchases have, in the past, included bundled
       software which is only licensed for the particular machine (an
       OEM license). On the replacement of the hardware the required
       software has often been loaded from previously purchased
       software. This has therefore resulted in more software being
       installed on machines than the number of licences would allow,
       which could result in legal action being instituted against the
       Council for illegal copying of software.
8.16   Some steps have already been taken to address the issue of
       illegal software. An inventory of software which is currently
       installed on the Council‘s computers has been undertaken and
       compared with the licenses which are held by the IT Division.
       All unlicensed software identified by this exercise is being
       either removed or licences procured. However, due to changes
       in the licensing arrangements for Microsoft products an upgrade
       strategy needs to be developed to ensure that the Council
       continues to be licensed in the most cost effective way.
8.17   Budgets for standard software packages and the licenses
       needed to operate and use them are centralised within the IT
       Division. Budgets for specialised third party packages are
       distributed to service managers. The centralisation of budgets
       for corporate software has enabled a more structured approach
       to be taken but there is still a range of software in use which is
       steadily being standardised. Variations in the versions of
       software in use make it more difficult for IT Support staff to deal
       with problems with users‘ PCs and can also impact on software
       development being undertaken in-house, where older versions
       of software will either not work at all or not be able to utilise all
       the features of the in-house software development.




                                  25
                     3.   INFORMATION STRATEGY
9. Core Values for Information
   9.1    Information has the following core values :
          Security        –   To ensure that only those entitled to view or
                              manipulate information are able to do so.
          Availability –      To ensure that information is available to
                              Members, Officers, External organisations and
                              the public.
          Mobility        –   To enable information to be easily exchanged
                              without being changed in context or format.
          Access          –   To ensure that all information required,
                              irrespective of its source, is readily accessible
                              by those who wish to use it from any
                              reasonable location.

10. Data Protection
   10.1   Data about individuals is protected under the provisions
          contained in the Data Protection Act1998. Under the 1998 Act the
          individual may request :
           a description of the data being processed
           the purposes for which it is being processed
           a description of any potential recipient of the data
           information on the source of the data
           copies of the data held
          The data referred to can be in electronic or paper form.
   10.2   However, the request must be in writing, a fee may be payable
          at the discretion of the local authority and the local authority
          may seek to confirm the identity of the individual. The local
          authority must respond within 40 days.
   10.3   The requirements of the 1998 Act places a potentially heavy
          burden on the Council in being able to respond to any requests
          received. Data held relating to individuals will need to be
          identified for all systems and procedures for responding to
          requests established. Some of this work will fall within the remit
          of the Security Policy.




                                      26
   10.4   Data will also need to be classified according to its level of
          confidentiality. This can be based upon the confidentiality levels
          set out by the e-envoy :
             Level 0   No confidentiality
             Level 1   Protection for unpublished private information
             Level 2   Protection for sensitive private information

11. Information Management
   11.1   The basis of East Dorset‘s Information Strategy relies on the
          Council identifying those items or areas about which information
          needs to be held. At the most basic level this data falls into two
          categories – people and property. The long term goal is for
          information to be held only once, with the technical architecture
          supported by the IT Division providing users with access to that
          information, wherever it might be stored. Each data item would
          need to be assigned an owner whose responsibility would be to
          ensure that the information is kept up to date.
   11.2   There are different approaches to achieving the objective of
          holding a single source of data. For example, a data catalogue
          could be compiled which identifies all types of data held for
          different purposes in different systems and an overall plan
          designed to implement the goal of single databases for each
          item of data. The main drawback to this approach is the level of
          investigation required before any progress can be made. An
          alternative approach would be to examine major individual data
          sources, such as property, and develop new systems or enhance
          existing systems on an incremental basis around an overall
          strategy of centralising the data sources.
   11.3   There is already pressure from national projects to use the
          British Standard BS7666 for recording property details and this
          has been adopted as the standard for the Council. Work is
          currently in hand to ensure that all the Council‘s property data
          complies with the standard.
   11.4   Many of the developments involving property data are being
          undertaken as part of the GIS project and other property data
          sources, which are currently excluded, could be linked into this
          development. This would enable the GIS system to be the
          central method of accessing all property data, providing a
          common interface for a range of systems relying on property or
          other geographically related data.




                                    27
   11.5   Most of the information on staff is held within the Personnel
          Division in either computerised or manual form. It would
          therefore make sense to centralise this information within a staff
          database which can be made available for other systems to
          access on a controlled basis. Some of this data is currently held
          within the Corporate Management System and the potential to
          expand this to provide a more comprehensive solution needs to
          be examined.
   11.6   Many of the Council‘s systems will be specifically organised to
          store information on the District‘s residents. A single source of
          data on residents will be both complex to establish, because of
          the varied nature of the information to be recorded, and
          potentially illegal, because of the provisions contained within
          the Data Protection Act. Therefore it would only be appropriate
          to store basic details common to all systems, such as name and
          address. This would reduce some of the complexity and provide
          a solution to one of the problems of ensuring that data is kept up
          to date to the benefit of residents.
   11.7   Looking to the future more systems will be available to residents
          on-line as the electronic government initiative is developed. In
          order to provide individualised data, for example the balance
          outstanding on a Council Tax account, it will be necessary for
          users to prove their identity. This should ideally be addressed
          through national or regional initiatives such as UK Online or a
          Dorset-wide information portal.
   11.8   Physical documents received or created within the Council
          could also be managed in a similar manner through such means
          as document image processing. This is discussed more fully in
          the next section.
   11.9   New data will need to be collected for corporate information
          needs under the Best Value initiative. Performance indicators
          are to be developed to measure the quality of life in the area
          and this will undoubtedly require new systems or developments
          to existing systems, for the gathering of relevant information. As
          yet the exact requirements are unknown.

12. The Paperless Office
   12.1   The ―dream‖ of the paperless office is an old one and can be
          traced back over ten years. The introduction of electronic mail
          from 1995 has made some headway against the tide of paper,
          particularly in the provision of the facility to transmit
          attachments electronically. This has only been widely practical
          with the standardisation of the Council‘s word processing
          packages to Word, undertaken in 1998. This trend is likely to
          continue naturally as staff become increasingly accustomed to
          using email.



                                    28
12.2   However, large volumes of paper are still circulated within the
       organisation. There are two main problems with this method of
       transmission :
       (a)    the need to store all these additional copies of information;
              and
       (b)    maintaining the currency of the information through
              frequent updating.
12.3   The continuing development of the intranet and internet will
       enable large swathes of this paper to be eliminated. A major
       impact has already been achieved with the development of the
       Corporate Management System and the associated information
       on the Council‘s website.
12.4   The principle elements upon which future work to the Council‘s
       intranet could be undertaken to decrease the flow of paper are :
       a) Staff Handbook
       b) Standing Orders
       c) Financial Regulations
       d) Guidance on insurance and financial affairs
       e) News at 4HN
       f)    Chief Officer Group minutes
       g) Flexitime records
       h) Timesheet information
       i)    Council plans and policies
12.5   This list is by no means exhaustive but these projects could
       significantly reduce the volumes of paper being transmitted and
       stored within the organisation.
12.6   Developing the Council‘s Intranet is vital in supporting a joined-
       up approach to service provision. If staff are to provide a face-
       to-face information service to the general public then it is vital
       that they have all the information needed to deal with the
       enquiry readily to hand. This is best supplied through access to
       computer records of information being held on individuals and
       the intranet would be the logical way of delivering this
       information.
12.7   The second strand of this development is to increase the use of
       document scanning within the Council. Limited use is being
       made of this technology so far, primarily within the Revenues
       Division. The next main area to be implemented is likely to be
       within the Planning Department with the deployment of a
       replacement planning system.




                                  29
   12.8   Not only would electronic storage of scanned documents allow
          information to be much more widely available to individuals but
          storage requirements could also be dramatically reduced.
          There is no department of the Council which could not benefit
          from some form of document management system. The
          extension of document management to central filing systems
          could have significant benefits in improving access to corporate
          information.
   12.9   The ability of document management to be used in a workflow
          context cannot be ignored. Again, all departments could benefit
          from this type of approach and the use of workflow in sorting
          and distributing correspondence and official documents for the
          Council as a whole should be seriously considered. However, it
          would be impractical to scan all incoming documents as much of
          the post is made up of junk mail and periodicals.

13. Access to External Information
   13.1   Increasing use of the Internet is being made by managers as
          part of their normal work. The recent work undertaken to the
          Council‘s Internet facilities has improved the security of this
          medium and speeded up access times. The expansion of the use
          of the Internet for research and information purposes is
          dependent on developments being undertaken by third parties
          (e.g. Central Government) but given the fast pace of
          development in this area the use of this facility is likely to
          increase significantly in the near future.
   13.2   Expanding the availability of internet access brings with it the
          need to actively manage the use made of the facility by staff. It
          should be the objective of the Council to provide the facility to
          all members of staff but this brings with it two other issues:
          monitoring staff use of the facility
          improving the capacity to handle the additional traffic.

14. Information and Employees
   14.1   Changes in communications technology are making the
          prospect of employees working outside of the office
          environment more and more of a practicality. There is a growing
          argument for removing the need to provide office
          accommodation for employees on a partial or even full basis. If
          this were achievable it would reduce the need for expensive
          office space and the environmental impact of commuter
          journeys.




                                      30
   14.2   The technology has reached a point where video conferencing is
          a practical and economically viable proposition. To achieve
          effective home-working the employee would need reliable
          communications (using telephone and video conferencing
          facilities in the home) and access to the information and systems
          needed to carry out their work. The development of the Internet,
          Intranet and DIP facilities will be a major building block in
          achieving the level of access to corporate information which the
          employee needs to work remotely, either at home or by using
          mobile computing devices. Access to the Council‘s information
          systems through remote links is already practical, although
          more work needs to be undertaken in developing the security of
          the medium.
   14.3   It should be a feasible target to identify a suitable pilot group
          within the Council to test the practicality of remote working on a
          part time basis within the next two years.
   14.4   Members could also benefit from the same technology to reduce
          their dependence on the Council‘ offices. The only electronic
          access facility enjoyed by Members is the PC set up in the
          Members‘ office or equipment which they own themselves. In
          order for Members to benefit from improved information
          technology they must first possess the means to access the
          information. This would inevitably mean the provision of IT
          workstations to Members for use in their own homes which
          brings with it the political problem as to how the provision of
          such ―free‖ facilities would be perceived by the general public
          as well as the technical problem of security of access.
          Consideration needs to be given at an early stage to the issues
          involved in providing Members with IT equipment in order to
          carry out their duties following the deployment of the new
          committee minutes system.

15. Information and Customers
   15.1   The advent of widespread Internet use over the coming years
          will require a radical shift in the way that the Council does its
          business. With the advent of innovations such as interactive
          digital television providing Internet access, the prospect of the
          Council doing a significant portion of its business through this
          medium will become a practical reality. This general approach
          to dealing with customers is known as electronic government.




                                    31
15.2   A great deal can be achieved to provide the basic information
       which a customer requires on the Council‘s website. Basic
       enquiries (such as the Council Tax property banding or
       planning applications affecting a property) could be accessible
       directly by the customer on a 24 hour per day 365 days per year
       basis without the need to telephone or visit the Council offices.
       This would reduce the level of customer enquiries which need to
       be dealt with by officers, thus increasing efficiency and cost
       effectiveness.
15.3   Information can also be tailored to the needs of a particular
       customer. Entering simple information, such as a post code,
       should enable a range of information to be displayed relevant to
       a particular visitor (e.g. their local councillor, MP, nearest
       library or the day the rubbish is collected). This can be taken
       further to identify the specific individual and build up a picture
       of their activity to identify information which they may find of
       interest (e.g. their current balance on Council Tax or the
       progress of their planning application). In order to achieve this
       it would be necessary to introduce some form of authentication,
       as discussed in paragraph 10.7.
15.4   Those who do not have access to the Internet can also be catered
       for through the use of such devices as public access kiosks or
       PC links in libraries. These facilities could be provided in a
       range of sites (e.g. libraries, parish and town councils, schools,
       leisure centres and supermarkets) to encourage the greatest use
       possible of the Internet information facilities.
15.5   The Council has recognised the need for improving the
       communication skills of its residents by becoming involved in
       the establishment of the Community Learning Centre in
       Wimborne. Similar projects may be of benefit in the other urban
       centres of Ferndown and Verwood if suitable funding can be
       secured. Consideration might also be given to facilitating
       training for other groups, such as business employees in the
       main industrial areas of the District.
15.6   If video conferencing, DIP and printing capability were linked to
       the facility then remote interview and document exchange
       would also be a practical possibility.
15.7   Taking the Internet concept a stage further the Council can
       provide the facilities for the customer to supply information
       required for various services through the use of interactive
       forms. This would allow a customer to provide details of a
       benefit application or a planning application directly from their
       own point of access, using credit card facilities to make any
       payments due.




                                 32
   15.8   The payment of any bills through the Internet using credit cards
          could be accommodated into the Council‘s site although there
          may be some resistance to the use of this medium because of
          security fears.
   15.9   It must also be borne in mind that business users will be another
          type of customer and for those companies interested in
          relocating to the area a great deal of information could be made
          available to inform their relocation decisions. Directories of
          local businesses have already been compiled manually which
          provide information about which businesses are located in a
          particular area and the products and services they provide. This
          information can also be of relevance to other businesses which
          may require inputs which are the outputs of neighbouring
          businesses.

16. Information and Democracy
   16.1   The democratic process itself could also be enhanced through
          the use of Internet technology. The ability to use the medium to
          interact with the customer makes it ideal for consulting the
          public with regard to the Council‘s plans. The Council could set
          up a local discussion forum where residents are able to discuss
          issues of local importance and place their views on bulletin
          boards, providing valuable feedback on current issues which
          could be used in the formulation of policy.
   16.2   Taking this a stage further it would also be feasible for residents
          to engage in interactive questioning of the Chief Executive,
          Leader of the Council, Committee Chairmen or other officers of
          the Council on-line. This might be most beneficial when
          particular topics are under consideration, such as the annual
          budget or local planning policies.
   16.3   Facilities could be introduced at Council meetings for electronic
          voting, although this would require a degree of investment in
          the infrastructure of the Council‘s meeting rooms. It would also
          be feasible to broadcast the Council‘s public meetings over the
          Internet so that local constituents could see their elected
          representatives in action without the need for a journey to the
          Council‘s offices. The final step in the enhancement of the
          democratic process would be to enable electronic voting at
          local elections.




                                    33
               4.   ELECTRONIC GOVERNMENT STRATEGY
17. Definition
   17.1   The Government measures the progress to achieving electronic
          government by using Best Value Performance Indicator 157
          (BVPI 157). This indicator is defined as “the percentage of
          interactions with the public, by type, which are capable of
          electronic service delivery and which are being delivered using
          internet protocols or other paperless methods”. Within this
          definition ―other paperless methods” includes the telephone
          where the receiver of the call is able to resolve the callers
          request at the time of the call; if necessary, by reference to an IT
          system.
   17.2   The Government‘s focus is clearly on the citizen when
          measuring progress towards electronic government (e-
          government). However, full e-government should also cover
          relationships with suppliers and therefore encompass the issue
          of procurement. This is recognised by separate targets set for
          Government departments for procuring goods and services
          electronically.

18. Vision
   18.1      It is our vision to provide a comprehensive, widely accessible,
             and secure electronic informational and transactional facility for
             the citizens and businesses of, and visitors to, East Dorset; and to
             share information and resources between the area's public
             service providers to enhance efficiency and effectiveness by
             2005.

19. Strategy
   19.1   The Council will need a strategy to guide the introduction of
          these new facilities. This strategy would need to address four
          key pillars of providing full electronic government:
             a) The establishment of a secure intranet and linked databases
                that reaches across all departments and enables them to
                work together. The intranet should also have resilient, high
                capacity interfaces with public sector agencies and local
                and regional bodies.
             b) The second requirement is the delivery of services that are
                tailored to the needs of citizens and are accessible via the
                internet in a convenient and secure form. The aim should be
                to provide a one-stop portal that is always open and caters
                for all aspects of the relationship between government and
                the citizen.




                                        34
       c) The third requirement is the creation of a government
          electronic marketplace where departments can advertise
          their requirements, authorised suppliers can bid and post
          tenders for high value purchases and public servants can
          purchase low value goods quickly, efficiently and at
          centrally negotiated prices.
       d) The final pillar is digital democracy. Councils and politicians
          should use the Internet to make themselves more accessible
          and accountable to the voters, evolve new methods of
          consultation and to eventually offer on-line voting.
19.2   The County and District Councils of Dorset, together with the
       unitary authorities of Bournemouth and Poole, will work with
       partners from the broader public sector to provide widely
       available, internet-based access to the area's public services
       and comprehensive information for citizens, businesses and
       visitors.
19.3   The prime focus of this will be to supplement the operability of
       Council websites by the creation of a portal acting as a point of
       entry to e-Dorset services. The portal will allow personalisation
       of users' views of information and services and provide easy
       links to partners' and other public and voluntary sector
       information, providing delivery over multiple channels.
       Information will be built around life events and interests
       wherever possible rather than organisational structures. The
       portal will handle the authentication of users, enabling partners
       to securely provide personal information where requested and
       to have a high level of confidence in the authenticity of
       transactions initiated by citizens. It will provide the technology
       to draw information from, and supply information to, partners'
       databases for presentation to users and for transmission to and
       from national portals (e.g. UK-Online) using government
       interoperability protocols (e-GIF).
19.4   The Councils will endeavour to work closely together to develop
       existing and new systems and interfaces, working also with
       public and private sector partners. The partners will work
       together to provide a shared pool of knowledge and resources
       to increase efficiency, effectiveness and best value. Other
       partners will be identified to help build a community
       infrastructure to eliminate social exclusion.
19.5   The further development of the strategy must allow sufficient
       flexibility for all organisations to choose their own pace of
       implementation dependant on resources and their own
       priorities.




                                 35
   19.6   In order for the portal to function effectively each council will
          need to electronically enable its back office systems. This work
          represents a significant challenge to this Council, where
          resources are severely constrained.
   19.7   There are also a range of national portals, such as the national
          planning portal. The Council will need to ensure that information
          can be supplied to these portals in order for citizens and other
          users to benefit from this national approach. This will require the
          adoption of national schemas as discussed in the Technology
          Strategy.
   19.8   The Council‘s longer term aim is to refocus its major systems
          around the electronic service delivery ethos to achieve the
          necessary step change in the way that services are delivered to,
          and perceived by, the citizen.

20. Targets
   20.1   The Government has set two targets for the implementation of e-
          government:
          that 25% of all services should be available electronically by
               2002; and
          that 100% of all services should be available electronically by
               2005.
   20.2   In setting these targets the Government anticipates that
          electronic delivery will not simply represent the electronic
          enablement of existing processes; it should represent a ―step
          change‖ in service delivery which vastly improves the citizen‘s
          perception of the service. This step change is expected to be
          achieved by redesigning working practices to meet the needs of
          the citizen rather than those of the service provider.
   20.3   Whilst the Council is confident that it can meet the target of
          100% of services being electronically enabled by 2005 this
          would only represent making existing services capable of
          electronic delivery; it would not allow the step change in service
          delivery that the Government anticipates. Resources available at
          the Council are insufficient to achieve this by the 2005 deadline
          and this will not be achieved unless substantially more revenue
          support is received from Central Government.
   20.4   Progress against the target is being measured using guidance
          issued by the Society of Information Technology Managers
          (SOCITM). The formula for measurement covers six processes
          across all services which can be electronically enabled:
          the provision of information
          applying for a service
          booking a facility


                                    36
          paying money to the Council
          receiving money from the Council
          consultation and feedback.
   20.5   Using these definitions the Council‘s current level of
          achievement against the target is 23.5%, compared with the
          national average of 29%.
21. Security and Privacy
   21.1   The Council is currently reviewing its security policy with a view
          to achieving compliance with British Standard BS7799.
          Procedures for ensuring compliance with data protection
          legislation are also being reviewed.
   21.2   In examining the potential to deliver services by electronic
          means the issues of security, privacy and authentication are
          paramount, particularly where transaction processing is
          involved. The Council has not yet carried out an evaluation of
          the various options for achieving these goals, although
          measures such as digital signatures and data encryption will
          need to be examined. The issue will be a key factor in the
          implementation of the e-Dorset portal and will need to be
          agreed with the Council‘s various partners.

22. Access to Service Strategy
   22.1   As part of the consultation on Best Value the Council surveyed its
          Citizens‘ Panel in June 2000 on their requirements and
          expectations for ICT services. Based on the panel results18% of
          East Dorset residents already have access to a PC with a modem
          at home and 16% have a home connection to the Internet.
          Although only 11% currently have digital TV over 80% of
          respondents expect to have it in the future. There is therefore a
          significant proportion of the population who either have access
          or intend to have access to electronic forms of communication.
          This would indicate that the electronic delivery of Council
          services would be a practical proposition.
   22.2   The respondents to the Citizens‘ Panel survey indicated that
          environmental issues, community information, planning
          information and Council news and information would be the
          principal areas of interest on a Council website.
   22.3   National survey data for October 2001 indicates that :
          a) 40% of people have a PC with internet access;
          b) 35% of people had used a PC to get information or advice or
             buy products in the pervious year;
          c) 50% of people think that new technology will make it easier
             to deal with their council; and



                                    37
       d) 65% had last used the telephone to contact their council
          compared to 1% who had used email.
       In the light of these finding the East Dorset Citizens‘ Panel will
       be surveyed again in 2002 to establish local trends.
22.4   The primary access facility planned by the Council revolves
       around its own website facilities and the development of the e-
       Dorset portal. Both of these projects envisage wide access
       through a variety of devices, including digital television,
       wireless 3rd generation devices and personal digital assistants,
       e-mail, PC/Kiosks and voice.
22.5   The Council already accepts credit and debit card payments for
       all services over the telephone. Transaction processing on the
       website will require the upgrading of the Council‘s Cash
       Receipting system to provide the necessary interface. The
       Council will need to decide whether to use its own in-house
       resources to upgrade the system or whether to procure a
       suitable replacement system from a third party supplier.
22.6   Whether or not the e-Dorset portal project is successful, the
       Council will explore the options for using the facilities of other
       public bodies, such as the County Council and the police, to
       make its services more accessible.
22.7   It is impractical and too expensive for the Council to invest the
       resources required to develop its own call centre. If such a
       facility is to be provided it will be dependent upon the success
       of the e-Dorset portal. However, following the introduction of the
       digital switchboard the Council will examine the desirability
       and feasibility of providing menu access for callers to reach the
       required destination or to access relevant information through
       their telephone. As a precursor to this information on current
       call traffic and types of enquiry will need to be obtained.
22.8   Providing up-to-date customer information to the person
       receiving the call will enable a much improved service to be
       provided. A Customer Relationship Management system is
       envisaged to be part of the e-Dorset portal but this will, in turn,
       need to rely on other facilities, such as document management
       systems, to provide the information required. The introduction
       of a corporate document management facility will be an
       essential pre-requisite to providing an improved service to
       telephone callers. However, the procurement of such a facility
       will be difficult given the limited resources available to the
       Council and imaginative solutions may be required.
22.9   The new switchboard has allowed the introduction of direct dial
       facilities to speed up access to specific services and will also
       allow more comprehensive monitoring of call handling. This
       monitoring will allow the Council to identify areas where
       customer call handling can be improved.


                                 38
23. Procurement
   23.1   Electronic procurement could help to streamline the whole
          process of procuring goods and services. It is already feasible
          to introduce procurement cards for use by staff in ordering low
          value goods, although the audit and security aspects would
          need to be considered carefully. The introduction of such
          facilities should be considered as a priority.
   23.2   More complex procurement involving tendering can also be
          electronically enabled and work has already been done at a
          central Government level on this through Tender Trust. This
          process enables tender details to be automatically delivered to
          relevant suppliers and for tenders to be submitted
          electronically. Such a process may also require changes to
          standing orders or financial regulations. The Council already
          uses some centralised processes, facilitated through
          Government, to vet suppliers and should now consider whether
          this should be extended to electronic tendering.

24. Appointment of E-Champions
   24.1   The Council has appointed an officer e-champion who regularly
          attends meetings of the senior management team and the ICT
          Working Party, a joint Member and officer group. Following the
          restructuring of the committee system, in response to the Local
          Government Act 2000, the Council will appoint an e-champion
          from among its elected representatives.

25. Timescale for Services to Become Available
   25.1   Information, customer consultation and feedback will be priority
          areas for all services and these issues will be addressed by the
          first quarter of 2002. Addressing transaction processing for
          relevant services will require work to the Council‘s cash
          receipting system, which is unlikely to be completed before
          2003.
   25.2   The Council has already addressed some high volume services,
          such as Planning, where weekly planning applications are
          available for viewing online. However, the re-engineering of the
          planning system will require substantial in-house resources and
          will not be completed before the end of 2002.
   25.3   Other high volume services such as Council Tax and Benefits are
          provided on older legacy systems. The Council will need to
          examine options for making these services fully available
          electronically, although some processes could be enabled using
          the existing legacy systems.




                                   39
   25.4   Online access to personal information could be provided once
          security and authentication issues are resolved. Since this is part
          of the e-Dorset portal project these facilities are unlikely to be
          realised until 2004.

26. Opportunities to Deliver Early Results
   26.1   Information, customer consultation and feedback will be priority
          areas for all services and these issues will be addressed by
          Spring 2002. The ability to provide a wide range of informational
          and communication facilities covering all of the Council‘s
          services will greatly enhance the range of delivery channels
          available to the customer.
   26.2   The digital divide is also being actively addressed to ensure that
          no group is disadvantaged by the new facilities which are
          becoming available and the Community Learning Centre,
          programmed to open in Autumn 2001, will provide a much
          needed benefit to this group. Access for the more remote rural
          areas will be addressed through the e-Dorset portal project.

27. Scope for Decommissioning Existing Channels
   27.1   The main channels of service delivery currently employed are
          correspondence and telephone; face-to-face service delivery
          being limited by the relatively remote location of the Council‘s
          administrative facility. As more use is made of delivery by
          telephone and electronic methods it is likely that face-to-face
          facilities will become increasingly redundant. This would
          improve administrative productivity and produce cost savings. It
          is unlikely that written and telephonic communication will
          decrease in the short term and there is no prospect of them
          being decommissioned within the timeframe of this document.
28. Skills & Training
   28.1   The foremost skills needed for this to succeed are those of
          project management and change management. Other skills
          which will be required are:
          a) Leadership - members and senior management
          b) Business system development
          c) Information Management
          d) End-user skills
          e) Specialist user skills
          f) e-Learning
          g) Procurement
          h) IT Support




                                    40
28.2   The Council will work with its local partners to identify the skills
       that already exist and endeavour to make optimum use of
       appropriate expertise. Where short-term gaps exist we will seek
       private sector assistance or rapid training where this is
       practical. Should our longer term requirements be for increased
       in-house skills we will seek to retrain our existing workforce and
       recruit as necessary. It may be that the acquisition of the skills
       required will be resolved by the employment of private
       contractors or by using local government partners.
28.3   The Council has embarked on a training programme to ensure
       that all of its staff have the necessary skills to support the move
       to electronically enabled citizens. All staff are expected to have
       achieved the minimum standard for computer skills, based on
       modules of the European Computer Driving Licence by 2004.




                                  41
               5. INFORMATION SYSTEMS STRATEGY
29. Systems Overview
   29.1   The Council employs a wide range of systems, both
          computerised and manual, to administer the services it
          provides. A brief overview of the major systems, including
          anticipated or planned developments is set out below.

   IT Systems
   29.2   Council Tax
          The Council Tax system was developed in house to administer
          the Council Tax, going live from April 1993. It was developed for
          operation on the Council‘s Unix machines leased from MDIS
          (McDonnell Douglas Information Systems) using MDIS‘s
          REALITY operating system. The system was transferred to file
          servers running Reality X on Windows NT in 1999.
   29.3   Benefits
          The Benefits system was developed in house to administer
          Council Tax and Housing Benefit, going live from April 1993. It
          was developed for operation on the Council‘s Unix machines
          leased from MDIS using MDIS‘s REALITY operating system. The
          system was transferred to file servers running Reality X on
          Windows NT in 1999. The system is currently being updated to
          cope with recent changes in the legislation affecting the benefit
          service and to provide improved management information.
   29.4   Business Rates
          The Business Rates (NNDR) system was developed in house to
          replace a commercial package from MDIS and was introduced
          in April 1995. It was developed for operation on the Council‘s
          Unix machines leased from MDIS using MDIS‘s REALITY
          operating system. The system was transferred to file servers
          running Reality X on Windows NT in 1999.
   29.5   Community Charge
          The Community Charge system was developed in house to
          administer the recovery of residual Community Charge
          following the introduction of the Council Tax in April 1993. It was
          introduced in May 1996 for operation on the Council‘s Unix
          machines leased from MDIS using MDIS‘s REALITY operating
          system. The system was transferred to file servers running
          Reality X on Windows NT in 1999. The system has a finite life
          depending upon the success of collecting the outstanding
          arrears. As numbers of accounts decline it would be feasible to
          transfer the records onto the Sundry Debtors system.




                                    42
29.6   Cash Receipting
       The Cash Receipting system was developed in house in 1989 to
       administer the allocation of income to the Council‘s accounts. It
       was developed for operation on the Council‘s mainframe leased
       from MDIS using MDIS‘s REALITY operating system. The system
       was transferred to file servers running Reality X on Windows NT
       in 1999.
29.7   General Ledger
       The Council introduced the current General Ledger in April
       1998 after purchasing it from a third party supplier, PPSL.
       Following the acquisition of PPSL by Cedar Group Plc the
       Council has embarked upon an upgrade of the current system to
       the Cedar Financials suite of programs. The Cedar General
       Ledger commenced live operation in 2000.
29.8   Creditors
       The Council introduced the current Creditors system in April
       1998 after purchasing it from a third party supplier, PPSL.
       Following the acquisition of PPSL by Cedar Group Plc the
       Council has embarked upon an upgrade of the current system to
       the Cedar Financials suite of programs. The Creditors system is
       planned to be upgraded in 2001. Once the new system has been
       introduced the Council will implement facilities to pay creditors
       electronically through BACS (Bank Automated Clearing System).
       Commitment accounting will also be provided for service
       managers through deployment of the purchase ordering
       module.
29.9   Bank Reconciliation
       The Council introduced the current cheque reconciliation
       system in April 1998 after purchasing it from a third party
       supplier, PPSL. Following the acquisition of PPSL by Cedar
       Group Plc the Council will upgrade the current system to the
       Cedar Financials suite of programs. The current system is
       planned to be upgraded in 2001 once Cedar Group has
       completed the merger of its own creditors system with that
       produced by PPSL.
29.10 Debtors
       The Council introduced the current Debtors system in April 1998
       after purchasing it from a third party supplier, PPSL. Following
       the acquisition of PPSL by Cedar Group Plc the Council has
       embarked upon an upgrade of the current system to the Cedar
       Financials suite of programs. The current system is planned to
       be upgraded in 2002 once Cedar Group has completed the
       merger of its own Debtors system with that produced by PPSL.




                                43
29.11 Miscellaneous Income Allocation
      The Miscellaneous Income Allocation system was developed in
      house in 1985 to allocate income directly received through the
      Council‘s bank accounts to the General Ledger. The system also
      performs the allocation of VAT to the requisite ledger
      accounting codes. It was developed for operation on the
      Council‘s mainframe leased from MDIS using MDIS‘s REALITY
      operating system. The system was transferred to file servers
      running Reality X on Windows NT in 1999. There are no
      developments currently planned for the system.
29.12 Mortgage Administration
      The Mortgage Administration system was developed in house in
      1990 to administer mortgages granted by the Council to former
      housing tenants under the Right to Buy legislation. It was
      developed for operation on the Council‘s mainframe leased
      from MDIS using MDIS‘s REALITY operating system. The system
      was transferred to file servers running Reality X on Windows NT
      in 1999. Since the transfer of the Council‘s remaining housing
      stock in March 1997 no new mortgages will be created and the
      system will be redundant once the last mortgage is repaid in
      2033, although it is anticipated that this will be redeemed early
      in 2002.
29.13 Payroll
      The Council‘s payroll system, ISIS, administers the processing of
      payroll information for employees and payments to Councillors.
      The system was implemented in 1986 by Northgate Information
      Solutions (formerly MDIS) and was transferred to file servers
      running Reality X on Windows NT in 1999.
29.14 Payroll Interface
      The payroll interface was developed in house in 1987 to transfer
      costing data from the payroll system to the Council‘s General
      Ledger. It was developed for operation on the Council‘s
      mainframe leased from MDIS using MDIS‘s REALITY operating
      system. The system was transferred to file servers running
      Reality X on Windows NT in 1999.
29.15 Leisure Booking
      The Council uses a third party product developed specifically
      for its needs to manage training courses organised internally.
      The system was developed in 1998 and runs under Windows NT
      with Microsoft Access as the database. Since the system was
      written by an ex-employee, who is now employed by another
      organisation, the level of support is questionable.




                                44
29.16 Electoral Registration
      The Council uses a computerised system to administer the
      electoral register which is supplied by a third party, Pickwick
      Systems. It was implemented on the Council‘s mainframe leased
      from MDIS using MDIS‘s REALITY operating system in 1989. The
      system was transferred to file servers running Reality X on
      Windows NT in 1999.
29.17 Environmental Health
      The environmental health system is supplied by Sandersons in
      November 1987 and provides administrative support to the
      Environmental Health Division. The system was upgraded to run
      under Windows NT in 1996.
29.18 Licensing
      The Council uses a computerised system to administer the
      granting of licences which was written in-house in 1990. It was
      implemented on the Council‘s mainframe leased from MDIS
      using MDIS‘s REALITY operating system. The system was
      transferred to file servers running Reality X on Windows NT in
      1999.
29.19 Corporate Management System
      A new system running on the Council‘s intranet and internet has
      been developed in house and was implemented in November
      2000. The system handles the compilation of agendas and
      minutes and the publication of this information onto the
      Council‘s website. Information on Members and officers of the
      Council and associated organisations is stored as part of the
      database and can also be accessed from the Council‘s website.
      A number of developments have already been identified
      following the Best Value review of Committee Services.
29.20 Land Charges
      The Land Charges service uses a mixture of manual and
      computer based records to provide a service to property
      buyers. The section is, in the main, reliant on information
      provided from other systems to carry out its function, most of
      which is accessed through the Council‘s GIS system. Many of the
      functions supporting Land Charges are now handled by a
      computerised administration system written in-house in 1999
      running under Windows NT and using a SQL database.




                               45
29.21 Planning
      The current Planning Administration system, which is
      maintained in house, is being reviewed as part of the Best Value
      review of Development Control. The review will determine
      whether the system should be replaced by a third party product
      or by an in-house developed system. The current system was
      implemented in 1985 and is running on file servers running
      Reality X on Windows NT. An in-house system was started in
      1995 but development has been severely delayed because of
      lack of resources. This system will form the basis of a new
      planning system if an in-house solution is recommended by the
      Development Control review team.
29.22 Enforcement
      A small system to handle the administration of planning
      enforcement was written in 2000 as a Windows based system
      running under Windows NT. In the longer term the system will
      form part of the new Planning system.
29.23 Building Control
      The Building Control System was developed in 1996 to manage
      many of the processes involved in dealing with a building
      control application. The system runs under Windows NT with
      Microsoft Access as the database. The system has also been
      designed so that it can be integrated with the Council‘s Planning
      system, therefore producing an overall solution for the Planning
      Department. Whilst the system satisfies the basic needs of the
      Building Control Section in administering the service, including
      the functionality needed to deal with full fee recovery, work
      would still need to be done to upgrade the system to the same
      level of functionality as the proposed Planning System. This
      would chiefly involve the integration of other Microsoft products
      such as email, word processing and spreadsheets as well as
      adding workflow functionality.
29.24 GIS
      The Council operates a Geographic Information System to
      provide map-based information for a variety of applications. The
      system was originally implemented using Wings from Systems
      Options Ltd in 1994. However, due to poor performance of this
      software the applications are currently being migrated to a
      platform based on the MapInfo GIS product. This migration is
      due to be completed by March 2002.




                               46
29.25 Excess Charge Notices
      The Excess Charge Notices system is used to administer the
      recovery of excess charge tickets issued by the Council‘s car
      park wardens. It was developed in 1994 for operation on the
      Council‘s mainframe leased from MDIS using MDIS‘s REALITY
      operating system. The system was transferred to file servers
      running Reality X on Windows NT in 1999.
29.26 Concessionary Fares
      The concessionary fares system was originally designed in 1993
      to manage the issue of transport tokens to targeted groups of
      recipients and used data provided from the benefits system. It
      was transferred to file servers running Reality X on Windows NT
      in 1999. Following the introduction of a mandatory statutory
      scheme, the system was amended in 2001 to be operationally
      independent of the benefits system. The Council is considering
      whether to work with other local authorities to provide the
      service and if this option is implemented it is likely the software
      will be replaced with a third party product.
29.27 Leisure Administration System
      The Queen Elizabeth Leisure Centre implemented a third party
      product, Quota, supplied by Torex, to administer the booking
      of, and income collection from, the Centre‘s leisure facilities in
      1998. The system was DOS-based and was upgraded in 2001 to
      a Windows based product supplied by Microcache running
      under Windows NT.
29.28 Moors Valley Season Tickets
      The Moors Valley Season Ticket system manages the issue of car
      park season tickets for the Country Park. The system was
      developed in-house in 1999 and runs under Windows NT with
      Microsoft Access as the database.




                                47
30. Systems Summary


             System         Supplier          O/S         Database
  Council Tax              In house      RealityX on NT   PICK
  Benefits                 In house      RealityX on NT   PICK
  NNDR                     In house      RealityX on NT   PICK
  Community Charge         In house      RealityX on NT   PICK
  Cash Receipting          In house      RealityX on NT   PICK
  Concessionary Fares      In house      RealityX on NT   PICK
  General Ledger           Cedar         Windows NT       Oracle
  Creditors                Cedar         Windows NT       Oracle
  Bank Reconciliation      Cedar         Windows NT       Oracle
  Debtors                  Cedar         Windows NT       Oracle
  Miscellaneous Income     In house      RealityX on NT   PICK
  Mortgages                In house      RealityX on NT   PICK
  Payroll                  Northgate     RealityX on NT   PICK
  Payroll Interface        In house      RealityX on NT   PICK
  Leisure Booking          Third Party   Windows NT       Access
  Environmental Health     Sandersons    Windows NT       SQL
  Electoral Registration   Pickwick      RealityX on NT   Universe
  Licensing                Pickwick      RealityX on NT   Universe
  Corporate Management In House          Windows NT       SQL
  Land Charges             In House      Windows NT       SQL
  Planning                 In House      RealityX on NT   PICK
  Enforcement              In House      Windows NT       SQL
  Building Control         In House      Windows NT       Access
  GIS                      MapInfo       Windows NT       SQL
  Excess Charges           In house      Reality NT       PICK
  Leisure Administration   Microcache Windows NT          SQL
  MVCP Season Tickets      In House      Windows NT       Access




                                   48
31. Manual Systems
   31.1   Asset Management
          Manual records are maintained of all land and property owned
          by the Council through the property terrier. Much of this
          information is required for the purposes of recording and
          charging for the use of assets. The system would be an ideal
          application for conversion to GIS as a basis for the storage of
          information.
   31.2   Title Deeds & Legal Agreements
          Physical copies of title deeds and legal agreements are
          maintained within the Legal Division. There is no alternative
          method of recreating this information if it were to become
          damaged or destroyed.
   31.3   Personnel Records
          Personal records for all present and past employees are stored
          manually in files located in the Personnel Division. Much of this
          information would be of use to managers but is inaccessible
          unless it is physically retrieved. The management of staff could
          undoubtedly be improved by making relevant information more
          accessible to managers.

32. Software Standards
   32.1   Increasing numbers of people will have access to the internet
          and the browser software necessary to access data. This
          software is also universally available to Council employees
          through their PCs. There is therefore good reason to examine
          the need to make the Council‘s systems accessible using
          browser software for those who require only occasional access.
          The upgrading of the Council‘s ledger will enable browser
          access to financial data for authorised users.
   32.2   The Council has previously established that Microsoft products
          would form the basis for third party PC applications. These
          products, such as Word, are routinely used in systems being
          developed by the Council‘s IT staff. Microsoft Office will
          therefore be the standard product for providing PC applications
          such as electronic diaries, word processing capability,
          spreadsheets and presentation graphics.




                                   49
   32.3   Appropriate versions of these products will be supplied by the
          IT Division on a corporate basis for all users depending on their
          needs as assessed by individual service managers. Service
          Managers will be able to provide other packages for their
          business use funded from their own budgets but these products
          should only be used where there is a clear and justifiable
          business requirement to move away from the corporate
          products or where the corporate products do not cover their
          particular business needs (e.g. drawing/graphics products).
33. Other Standards
   33.1   Systems Development
          For any major investment that has had a business case produced
          a formal approach to project management should be applied.
          All projects should be managed to a common methodology
          based on the principles of PRINCE2. This methodology needs to
          be published and adopted as a corporate document for IT
          projects.
          The published methodology should address the project‘s
          organisation and management arrangements, approach to
          planning, reporting and controls and the management of risk,
          quality, configurations and change.
          The IT industry is taking on a new generation of developers,
          methods and technical architectures. This is moving us on from
          applications development in one particular skill, historically
          DataBasic and later Visual Basic and into an area of cross
          development using merging tools. The Council is fortunate in
          the fact that it has developers skilled in the new technologies.
          These people must enhance their skills as integrators and
          embrace new challenges and skill sets.
          Development tools will be adopted as the standard with both a
          specialist and a practitioner. No tool will be used without at
          least one other member of staff becoming conversant in its use
          or having an external source of expertise easily available.
   33.2   Security
          The security of the Council‘s data is paramount and data needs
          to be protected from illicit access both internally and externally.
          The Council‘s firewall is the main defence against unauthorised
          access from external sources to electronic information and the
          integrity of this protection is tested on a regular basis to ensure
          that security loopholes are kept to a minimum. Once access has
          been gained to the Council‘s network individual systems are
          protected through password access.




                                    50
          There is a national standard set by the British Standards Institute,
          BS7799, which relates to IT security and covers ten key areas.
          The Council‘s current arrangements comply to varying degrees
          with the standard ranging from low compliance for systems
          development to the highest level of compliance for personnel.
          Compliance with BS7799 would show that the Council has taken
          all possible steps to ensure that its ICT environment is secure
          and a programme of achieving compliance should be
          developed.
   33.3   Programming
          Standards exist for the development of applications using Visual
          Basic. These standards will continue to be updated and
          improved along with the introduction of standards for all new
          development tools.
   33.4   Data Control
          All data will adhere to the standards and procedures as laid
          down in the Information Security Policy.

34. Performance Monitoring
   34.1   Service Level Agreements
          Service Level Agreements (SLAs) are being introduced with new
          systems development and seek to set down standards of service
          provision between the IT Division and the system user.
          However, whilst various standards of service can be defined
          within the SLAs there is currently no method of monitoring
          compliance over a number of the areas covered.
   34.2   Fault Reporting
          Whilst users of PCs are readily able to report faults to the IT
          Support team, there is limited monitoring of progress and
          performance in resolving faults. The speed of resolving fault
          calls cannot be effectively monitored as the system is
          predominantly manual. This situation would be ideally
          addressed through the implementation of a consolidated service
          desk which would handle fault reporting and resolution as well
          as the management of assets and software licensing. This in turn
          would enable SLAs to be effectively enforced.
   34.3   Network & System Availability
          The Council does not have a system in place to monitor the
          availability of its network and systems and therefore has no data
          available on which to base SLAs covering this area.
   34.4   Network Activity
          The Council does not have a system in place to monitor the use
          of its network and therefore has no data available on which to
          base network planning decisions.


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   34.5   Project Development
          The development progress on projects is monitored on a
          quarterly basis by the ICT Working Party. More regular
          monitoring is undertaken through liaison between the lead
          officer in the user department concerned and the developer.
          However, the Council does not have formalised project
          management standards which set out the arrangements for the
          monitoring of projects (e.g. by reviewing agreed milestones)
          and these need to be developed as a matter of priority.

35. Operating System Strategy
   35.1   It is evident from the overview that a number of the current
          legacy systems rely on the Reality-X on NT operating system.
          The age of these systems means that a number of them will be
          considered for replacement or development in the near future.
          The operating system is licensed from Northgate Information
          Solutions (formerly MDIS) at a cost of £10,500 per year until May
          2003. Unavoidable additional cost has been incurred in 2001 by
          the supplier‘s refusal to support earlier versions of the operating
          system.
   35.2   Savings could be achieved by migrating systems onto the
          Windows NT operating system. This could be easily achieved
          for the smaller systems, such as ECNs or electoral registration,
          but the Council would need to consider the best strategy for
          migrating the larger systems, such as benefits or payroll.
   35.3   These major systems are ideal for joint provision with other local
          authorities; payroll is a universally required system and a
          revenues suite of programs is essential to all billing authorities.
          A great deal of standardisation has already occurred within the
          County where five authorities are operating the Academy
          revenues software. West Dorset already provides support
          services for this product to North Dorset and Christchurch. The
          Council should examine a migration path to a new revenues
          suite and payroll system which builds on the potential for joint
          working with its neighbours.
   35.4   The Council currently uses a number of desktop operating
          systems, including Windows 95, Windows 98 and Windows NT.
          These products have been superseded by Windows 2000 and
          Windows XP. It is important to achieve a common desktop
          environment to improve security and the ICT Division‘s ability to
          support users. The most appropriate desktop solution will need
          to be determined taking into account the cost of transition and
          the software development strategy.




                                    52
36. Systems Development Strategy
   36.1   The systems development strategy will be informed by both the
          Information Strategy and the E-government Strategy, which in
          turn are determined by the Council‘s business drivers. Other
          factors which will determine the priority of work within the
          development plan will include such elements as the reliability of
          the system and its ability to meet the identified business needs
          of the users.
   36.2   Two key systems stand out for major development work having
          taken account of the Council‘s key business needs:
          Planning
          Cash Receipting
          Both systems are major systems operating on the Reality X
          operating system and need to be migrated onto a Windows
          platform.
   36.3   The Planning system is one of the oldest systems still in use and
          is proving unreliable in its operation. Consultation has shown
          that Planning is one of the key areas where the public expect to
          see information on the Council‘s website. Although a short term
          solution has been achieved using information generated from
          the current system a new system could be implemented which
          would provide an electronically enabled system operating from
          a customer perspective. The Planning Department are
          examining whether the best solution to their business
          requirements should be provided through a third party product
          or an in-house solution.
   36.4   Although it is a newer and much more stable system the Cash
          Receipting system has the potential to fulfil a key objective of
          the Council‘s E-Government Strategy – transaction processing.
          By redesigning the Cash Receipting system it would be possible
          to allow customers to use the Council‘s website to pay a variety
          bills and therefore achieve a key goal of providing a
          transactional website. A referendum on joining the single
          currency is expected within the life of the current Parliament
          which brings the prospect of the UK joining the single currency
          a step nearer. The Cash Receipting system would be a key
          element in the Council‘s plan to implement the change in
          currencies if the decision is made to adopt the Euro in the UK.
   36.5   At the same time an examination should also be undertaken into
          the feasibility of incorporating the facilities provided by the
          Income Allocation system within the functionality of a new Cash
          Receipting system.




                                    53
37. Application Service Provision
   37.1   Application Service Provision (ASP) is the delivery of application
          functionality and associated services across a network to
          multiple customers using a pay-as-you-go payment model. The
          core proposition behind ASP is the delivery of pre-configured
          template software from a remote location over an IP network on
          a subscription-based outsourcing contract.
   37.2   The ASP market is still young, with vendors consolidating and
          experiencing growing pains. It is likely that the ASP market will
          mature over the next few years and must be considered as a
          long-term possibility.
   37.3   In addition to the above the following concerns must be
          addressed:
          (i)    The Council must be wary about putting sensitive data into
                 the hands of another company.
          (ii)   Along with government initiatives e.g. BS7666, how will the
                 ASP model integrate with other back-office and legacy
                 systems.
          (iii) Capability to customise applications.
   37.4   One area of ASP that must also be considered is that of this
          council in collaboration with its neighbouring councils
          providing services for each other. East Dorset and West Dorset
          may be ideally placed to supply services on a wider basis in
          areas of particular expertise.




                                     54
                   6.     TECHNOLOGY STRATEGY
38. Technical Architecture
   38.1   Core Values for technical architecture:
          Capability     –   To ensure that the hardware running
                             applications and on the user‘s desktop is
                             procured     to     the   most    appropriate
                             specification for the functions which need to
                             be carried out.
          Suitability    -   To ensure that the hardware is the most
                             appropriate for the purpose intended in
                             terms of scale and durability.
          Reliability    –   To ensure that both the hardware platform
                             and the network will be capable of handling
                             the workload expected of it.
          Affordability –    To ensure that the hardware solution chosen
                             represents the best value for money possible.

39. Overview of Current Infrastructure
   39.1   The council offices (Furzehill) have a structured data
          communications network with a fibre optic backbone. This
          includes category five cabling (100 megabits per second) off the
          backbone. This network is shared with the communication lines.
          The data communications protocol in use is TCP/IP.
   39.2   The client-server computing model is used, where users
          (clients) work at intelligent computers (workstations) and
          interact with back-end server systems that provide services,
          such as database access, network management, and centralised
          file storage. The client system runs an application that interacts
          with another program running on a server. Client server
          strategies provide a way of creating relatively inexpensive
          computing platforms that are easy to customise for specific
          applications.
   39.3   The database management system (DBMS) of choice is Microsoft
          SQL Server by which clients query using Structured Query
          Language (SQL).      File servers and database servers are
          extensively used along with back-end servers for communication
          and print services.
   39.4   The authority has adopted Open Database Connectivity (ODBC)
          to allow users access to a variety of multiple desktop databases
          and file formats. Recently ODBC has given Windows users
          access to data stored on the Reality-X operating systems that run
          in the Windows environment.




                                    55
40. Thin Client
   40.1   Thin client is defined, as a device that has no moving parts (e.g.
          fixed disk drive, floppy disk) that can display applications that
          reside on servers, where all applications, software programs
          and data reside, and are stored and processed.
   40.2   Most enterprises deploy thin-client applications primarily to
          reduce the total cost of ownership by centralising Windows
          applications. However, the real advantages of thin-client are
          only realised against unmanaged PC‘s. Well-managed PC‘s are
          typically locked down (i.e. the user cannot install their own
          software), possess a suite of management tools (i.e. software
          distribution, remote control, inventory) and are maintained
          through an active asset management process.
   40.3   Although the council PC‘s are not yet classed as ‗well managed‘
          by the definition above, the Council will continue to adopt this
          practice.
   40.4   Due to the nature of work at this council, thin-client is not seen as
          an across the board desktop replacement. The council have a
          number of high performance users (Accountancy, Engineers,
          GIS, etc.), which are not suited to thin client. However, its use as
          a desktop replacement in targeted environments, will continue
          to be investigated (data entry, secretaries, etc).
   40.5   One area of concern for the future of thin-client is that of
          browsing. Most desktops run browsing on the server, however
          as this council uses traditional client/server applications, these
          are likely to become browser based. This is likely to require
          embedded browsers due to performance and functional
          requirements of which not all Windows terminals will support.
   40.6   The advantage of thin-client will be examined for remote-users
          where low-bandwidth is an issue.

41. Storage Area Networks
   41.1   With the intended introduction of electronic document
          management, along with the changing ways that information is
          and will be accessed by other local authorities, public bodies
          and the citizen themselves, the current storage management
          infrastructure must be evaluated. The Council must look at the
          major consequences of supporting a radically different set of
          service-level requirements. These are information and data-
          intensive, and require a high-performance, scalable, highly
          available, and highly adaptable storage infrastructure to house
          the information.
   41.2   A well-implemented storage area network (SAN) can create
          consolidated storage that results in a dramatic improvement in
          the efficiency of storage management, this will result in an



                                     56
          increase in the reliability and cost effectiveness of the storage
          for network-centric applications.
42. IT Control of Mobile Phones & Radios
   42.1   The ICT Division has recently taken on the provision of services
          for fixed line telecommunications. With communications
          becoming more integrated with ICT, it would make sense for the
          Division to have responsibility for all communications. This
          would enable one service to provide the most informed advice
          across all areas. It is also more likely that cost savings could be
          made.
43. IT Control of Network Printing
   43.1   IT is responsible for the provision of computer printing services
          and provides all central, workgroup and desktop printers. With
          the advances in technology, photocopiers are now coming in
          with network printing capabilities. Photocopiers are the
          responsibility of the graphics and print unit. Although both IT
          and graphics do discuss requirements, the user must talk with
          two service areas for possibly one solution. With IT having
          responsibility for all network printing (including photocopiers),
          the right solution at the best price is likely to be achieved.

44. Gaps in Provision or Over-Provision
   44.1   The infrastructure for the technology provision is generally
          good. However, a number of critical points of failure do exist
          that need to be addressed, for example the dependence on a
          single file server to host the Council‘s web applications. This is
          further enhanced by the necessity to make services available
          over the Internet on a 24x7 basis.
   44.2   Areas of over provision include desktop computer printing
          facilities and mobile computing. Many staff have access to
          ―personal‖ printers rather than more effective network printers;
          a situation which has arisen historically as working practices
          have not responded to changes in network capability. Laptop
          computers have also become more widely used as their
          capabilities have increased, but these often supplement existing
          desk top machines.




                                     57
45. Communication Links
   45.1   The council currently has a number of Wide Area Network
          (WAN) connections from Furzehill to other facilities, as shown in
          the table:


          Location                         Line Type           Bandwidth
          QE Leisure Centre                EPS8 Leased Line    512 kbits
          Moors Valley Country Park        ISDN BRI            128 kbits
          Ferndown Depot                   BT Kilostream       512 kbits
          Ferndown Cash Office             BT Kilostream       64 kbits
          Wimborne TIC                     ISDN BRI            128 kbits
          INS Internet Service             BT Kilostream       128 kbits
          Benefit Verification (RATS)      ISDN BRI            128 kbits
          BACS Banking Transactions ISDN BRI                   128 kbits


   45.2   A number of Analogue PSTN modem lines are also used to
          connect to facilities, such as pumping stations, credit card
          services, alarm lines etc.
   45.3   Some of these services are adequate, whereas others will
          require significant upgrades, if they are to cope with increasing
          loads. This is particularly true for the Internet Service
          connection, which must cope with additional e-commerce traffic
          and public use of additional web based services and
          information. Its current copper connection does not have
          sufficient potential bandwidth to accommodate the expected
          increase in traffic, and will need to be transferred to the scalable
          fibre optic links, which are now available at the Furzehill site.
   45.4   The consolidation of individual Basic Rate ISDN lines into a
          single 2 Mbits Primary Rate ISDN connection would also have
          several advantages:
            lower overall line rental costs
            choice of carrier based on least cost routing
            greater bandwidth for short burst, high volume traffic
            better reliability of fibre optic link
            extended services such as video conferencing
          Other services could be transferred to Broadband technologies
          such as ADSL, which has recently become available from
          Ferndown and Wimborne telephone exchanges.



                                      58
46. Virtual Private Network
   46.1   Virtual Private Networks (VPN‘s) represent an exciting, flexible
          method to create private connections over untrusted networks.
          A pilot programme is already underway. This is covering
          remote-access connections, trying to migrate users away from
          dial-up access to the private network and from direct-dial calls.
          This programme needs to be expanded to evaluate the
          following:
            Site-to-site connections; the council can consider a VPN
             running over a less-expensive network. They can be used as
             an incremental expansion method for WAN service, instead
             of raising capacity/commitments to the legacy networks.
             Due to the semi-rural nature of the council the installation
             and usage costs for private networks can be greatly
             reduced. The use of VPN on a mixture of networks may be
             the only feasible way to provide services.
            To decentralize and dissociate from user/site connection
             costs. The council may reduce their telecom and WAN
             expenses and administrative tracking burdens significantly
             by having individual users (Town and Parish Councils) and
             remote offices (Moors Valley, etc.) arrange and pay for their
             own network access. Because the WAN path could run
             through many networks, the services cannot be trusted, but
             the VPN solves the privacy issue by encrypting the data. For
             this effort to be successful, the council must provide users
             with adequate training, easy-to-use VPN tools and session
             diagnostic utilities to aid the IT help desk.

47. Collaborative Applications
   47.1   Collaborative applications, including video conferencing
          systems, instant messaging and electronic meeting applications,
          will require renewed attention due to the remote and distributed
          workforces that are due to rise because of the decline in travel
          and savings in office accommodation. The Telecommunication
          Applications Protocol Interface (TAPI) can be used to facilitate
          interoperability between personal computers and the telephone
          equipment, thus enhancing the service provided to the caller.




                                    59
48. Emerging Technologies
   48.1   Mobile Phones
          The mobile phone is rapidly becoming the medium of choice for
          personal voice communications. In the not too distant future, it is
          expected its reach will exceed that of the PC/Internet channel.
          The mobile phone can be used actively and passively for real-
          time (voice) and asynchronous (text and voice) communications.
          Unlike any other channel, it offers the promise of location-
          specific messages, although privacy concerns could limit the
          use of these. This council at present sees it as a method of alert
          (i.e. text message) as opposed to a main channel of
          communication.
   48.2   Personal Digital Assistants
          Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) is a handheld wireless
          computer that serves as an organizer, electronic book or note
          taker. It typically uses a stylus or pen-shaped device for data
          entry and navigation.
          PDAs are under utilised within the council at present. They have
          a part to play in mobile working. With the necessary resources,
          major benefit can be utilised as the technology develops. It is
          expected that within a couple of years a large proportion of new
          PDAs will use wireless technology for direct access to Web
          content and private networks. There is no standardisation at
          present.
   48.3   Interactive Digital TV
          Interactive digital TV, like regular TV, is a good channel
          because of its multimedia features. British households today are
          almost as likely to have home access to interactive TV as they do
          to PCs with Internet access. Besides being easier for citizens to
          use, it is likely to deliver a more meaningful message. Unlike the
          active "lean forward" manner in which people interact with a PC,
          the TV is a passive "lean back" medium that makes viewers less
          likely to seek out interactive services.
          Since interactive TV is emotionally engaging, it is particularly
          well suited for building awareness. There are also many
          varieties of interactive marketing for this platform, including
          sponsorship and advertising. The business environment is
          different from the Web, as most interactive TV networks will
          have "gatekeepers" that control access to subscribers through
          proprietary interfaces.    It is a technology that must be
          incorporated into the Council‘s future planning.




                                    60
48.4   Biometrics
       Biometric authentication confirms a person's identity based on
       physical or behavioural characteristics that are hard to forge,
       such as hand, fingerprint, face, retina, iris, signature, voice or
       keystroke recognition.
       There are a number of potential applications for this council e.g.
       voter registration, physical access, etc. The technology (in
       particular, fingerprint recognition) has reached a level of
       price/performance that makes it attractive as a corporate
       security technique and in an increasing variety of other
       applications (e.g. mobile or Web transactions). However, until
       biometrics is integrated into devices, rather than being
       delivered as a peripheral, it will not be widely used.
48.5   WAP/Wireless Web
       Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) is a set of specifications
       developed by the WAP Forum for efficient communication of
       data over wireless networks to small devices, such as PDAs and
       cell phones. WAP specifications are based on Internet
       standards, with extensions to reflect the wireless device
       environment.
       WAP mobile phones are the best channel for urgent alerts
       because their "always on" feature enables mobile phone users
       to be reached wherever they are. This council does not see
       them as a primary channel at present due to the speed and lack
       of content delivery.
48.6   Bluetooth
       Bluetooth is a wireless networking technology with a range of
       about 10 metres and a raw data transmission rate of 1 Mbps. It
       supports ad hoc networking of up to 80 devices within a 10-
       metre radius (supporting voice and data). Bluetooth is expected
       to offer a low-cost technology and may come into its own with
       the emergence of more mobile working, where staff do not have
       dedicated desks or even offices.
       Other areas of use are with e-cash (trials are already underway
       in Scandinavia) that will use Bluetooth to enable the mobile
       phone to become an e-wallet.




                                 61
48.7   Voice over IP
       Voice over IP (VoIP) relates to the transmission of voice as
       digitised packets over data networks. It has been long touted as
       a big cost saver for companies. The telephone switch installed at
       Furzehill is ‗IP ready‘ and the network is already able to
       accommodate voice and data. However, although calling
       charges are smaller (voice data is compressed and sent over
       data lines at marginal rates) the nature and volume of calls at
       this time make it unlikely that significant savings can be made.
       There are VoIP capabilities that will enhance the VoIP cost
       justification: the digitising of voice (or video for
       videoconferences) permits all kinds of software manipulations
       and routing logic. The use of VoIP and computer-telephony
       integration (CTI) in corporate networks will foster such powerful
       new capabilities as increased employee productivity and
       improved quality of remote audio/video collaboration.
       For VoIP to become reality, the sound capabilities of PCs must
       be improved, especially to allow good digital-to-analogue
       translation and two-way simultaneous transfer. The potential
       value of VoIP lies in more than just looking at near-term costs.
       The quality of remote collaboration, for example, will indirectly
       contribute to significant savings in travel expenditures.
       However, reliability issues will make it necessary to keep the
       "old" phone networks, at least for the next three to five years.
48.8   Speech Recognition
       Speech recognition systems can interpret human speech and
       translate it into text or commands. Speech recognition is
       attracting significant attention as a strong candidate in mobile
       systems, where alternative input approaches are cumbersome
       (many Internet service providers already allow retrieval of e-
       mail or messages through voice led instruction).
       Within the council where dictation is used, trials are about to
       start on the viability of introduction on a wider scale.
48.9   XML
       The government has made a strategic decision to use Extensible
       Mark-up Language (XML) as the main standard for data
       integration. This strategy includes provision of XML schemas for
       use throughout the public sector based on a set of agreed data
       standards.
       These XML based data schemas, produced centrally, will be
       freely available. These can be reused throughout the public
       sector to reduce the costs and risks of developing data
       interchange systems. This council will adopt these schemas
       when available and is in a position to use them.



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48.10 Smart Cards
      A smart card can be defined as "A plastic card that contains a
      microprocessor and a memory chip or just a memory chip. The
      microprocessor card has the ability to add, delete and
      manipulate information on the card. A memory-chip card, such
      as a phone card, can only add information."
      There are three main types of card:
        Contact Cards that must be physically passed through a
         reader or terminal for processing.
        Contact less card that uses radio frequencies and needs no
         physical contact to be read by readers or terminals. Contact
         less cards are simply waved near the reader to record
         transactions or to identify the user. Systems are either
         passive, with the readers generating the frequency, or
         active, in which the card activates the reader.
        Both of the above.
48.11 Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) and Cable Data Services
      DSL uses advanced digital signal processing technology to
      enable much-higher data rates to be supported on copper loop
      telephone lines than analogue modems or ISDN are capable of
      supporting.
      DSL technologies are divided into two categories: Symmetric
      DSL (SDSL); designed for small-office use where the data rate is
      the same in both directions and Asymmetric DSL (ADSL);
      designed for home use where the data rate to the site is much
      higher than the data rate from the site.
      In all forms of DSL, the line from the site to the service provider
      is dedicated to the use of that particular site. SDSL and ADSL
      provide a connection that is always available — no dialling is
      required. ADSL simultaneously supports a voice call and data
      transmission over the same phone line.
      Cable TV's transmission medium — coaxial cable and fibre
      optics — supports much-higher data rates than do phone lines.
      A large group of subscribers (as many as 600) share the cable
      bandwidth, instead of each subscriber having a dedicated
      connection.
      The provision of cable within the council‘s boundary is limited,
      whereas the provision of DSL in some areas is coming on stream
      now. The Council must look to DSL for an increase in reliability
      and speed along with potential cost savings as it becomes more
      widely available.




                                63
                      7.     IMPLEMENTATION


49. Action Plan


 No.   Para                Action                  Officer   Target     Resource
1      3.1    The ICT vision should be adopted       VS       Jun 02       None
              and published in the Council‘s
              Best Value Performance Plan
2      4.1    The ICT Strategy should be             VS      Mar 04        None
              reviewed in the light of the
              agreed Community Strategy.
3      5.1b   The Council should secure              PD       Jun 02       £750
              domain names on behalf of the
              Parish and Town Councils
4      5.1b   The Council should offer web           DF      Dec 02    Self financing
              hosting services to Parish and
              Town Councils
5      6.3    A system of recording the policies     DF      Dec 02        None
              which users have seen and signed
              up to will need to be established.
6      6.3    Regular briefing sessions will         VS      Dec 02        None
              need to be held for employees on
              topics of corporate importance.
7      7.3    The provision of training should       VS       Jun 02       None
              be reviewed to increase
              participation.
8      8.6    Ways of providing a systematic         DF      Oct 02        None
              business analysis service should
              be investigated.
9      8.8    A consolidated service desk            DF      Mar 02       £17,000
              should be developed.
10     8.11   The ICT Disaster Recovery Plan         DF      Dec 02       £15,000
              should be implemented and
              tested.
11     8.16   A software upgrade strategy for        DF       Jul 02       None
              corporate software needs to be
              agreed.
12     8.17   Users‘ desktops should be              RM       Jun 02      Within
              standardised as quickly as                                 existing
              possible.                                                  budgets



                                    64
13   10.3   A procedure should be                COG   Mar 03       None
            established to respond to
            requests for details of personal
            data held.
14   10.4   All personal data should be          COG   Mar 03       None
            assessed to determine its level of
            confidentiality
15   11.1   All data items should have data      DF    Oct 02       None
            owners assigned.
16   11.2   Data sources should be               DF    Mar 03    Contained
            centralised using linked                               within
            databases as systems are                            development
            installed, developed or enhanced.                     budgets
17   11.5   The requirement for a staff          DF    Oct 02       None
            management system should be
            investigated.
18   13.2   Internet access should be made       VS    Dec 02      See 39
            available to all staff once
            appropriate           monitoring
            arrangements are in place and the
            capacity of the infrastructure
            improved to handle the additional
            traffic.
19   14.3   A trial of homeworking utilising     VS    Mar 04       Cost
            remote access to the Council‘s                       dependent
            systems should be carried out by                    upon method
            2004.                                                 adopted.
20   14.4   The provision of computer            VS    Oct 02   Up to £50,000
            facilities for Members should be
            investigated     following    the
            consultation exercise carried out
            as part of the ICT Best Value
            review.
21   16.1   The Council should set up a local    PD    Dec 02   Potential cost
            discussion forum on its website.                    of mediation.
22   19.8   Systems should be refocused to       DF    Mar 03    Contained
            allow a citizen-centred approach                       within
            to be adopted through electronic                      system
            delivery channels as they are                       development
            procured,       developed     or                      budgets
            enhanced.




                                  65
23   21.1   The Council should aim to achieve     DF    Jun 02      TBA
            compliance with the British
            Standard BS7799 on information
            security.
24   22.7   Information on current call traffic   VS    Mar 03    £10,000
            and types of enquiry should be
            investigated.
25   23.1   Introduce procurement cards for       VS    Mar 02     None
            use by staff in ordering low value
            goods.
26   24.1   The Council should appoint            VS    Jun 02     None
            officer and Member e-champions.
27   28.3   All staff will be trained to the      VS    Mar 04     None
            minimum standard for computer
            skills based on the START course.
28   33.1   The Council should adopt a            DF    Jun 02     None
            corporate project management
            methodology based upon the
            PRINCE2 standard.
29   33.1   Standard software development         DF    Jun 02   Within ICT
            tools should be defined.                              Budget
30   34.3   Monitoring systems should be set      RM    Jun 02    £10,000
            up to monitor network and system
            down-time
31   34.4   Monitoring of the level of network    RM    Dec 02   See above
            activity should be undertaken.
32   35.3   The Council should examine a          VS    Oct 02     None
            migration path to new software
            products for revenues and payroll
            which builds upon the potential
            for joint working.
33   35.4   An upgrade strategy for the           DF    Jun 02     None
            desktop operating systems should
            be developed.
34   36.2   The Planning and cash Receipting  ICT  Mar 02           TBA
            systems should receive the Working
            highest priority for systems
            development in 2002/03.          Party
35   42.1   The    centralisation    of  all      COG   Jun 02     None
            communications media within the
            ICT    Division     should   be
            considered.


                                 66
36   43.1   The transfer of the responsibility      VS   Jun 02    None
            for network photocopying to the
            ICT     Division    should     be
            considered.
37   44.1   The critical points of failure within   DF   Jun 03    TBA
            the ICT infrastructure should be
            identified       and       measures
            implemented to mitigate the
            effects of any failure.
38   44.2   The number of printers and              DF   Mar 04    None
            computer facilities should be
            reduced to more cost effective
            levels.
39   45.3   The needs of the Council in terms       DF   Dec 02   £10,000
            of bandwidth should be reviewed
            and     bandwidth        adjusted
            accordingly.
40   48.9   The Council should adopt XML            DF   Mar 03    None
            based data schemas when they
            are available and the Council is in
            a position to use them effectively.




                                   67
BIBLIOGRAPHY
1. MAPIT – Developing IS/IT Strategies
2. CIPFA – Achieving an Information Strategy
3. FITLOG – Getting IT Right
4. FITLOG – The Connected Council : Leading the Community in the
            Information Age
5. SOCITM/SOLACE – The Information Society : Are You Ready?
6. SOCITM – Modernising Local Government : Embracing the Information
            Age
7. LGA – OK Computer




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