Hampshire County Council is drawing great benefits from its new computer services and network architecture, says head of IT Jos Creese, who manages its annual £32 million IT budget.

IT is not only a central element in the council’s overall modernisation programme but also contributes to its efficiency and flexibility, he adds, claiming Hampshire is one local government environment where IT and the business really do work with one another, and IT operates as a business. “Our focus is on cutting costs, improving service quality and the delivery of agreed return on IT investments. If you operate IT like this and validate your decisions against your customers’ goals, you are more likely to get investments that pay off for customers – the public – and for the services that directly support them.”

Hampshire turned off its last mainframe in April 2005, with its new thin-client platform generating cost savings of £4m a year – £2m on an improved infrastructure and £2m from better use of core applications – with an overall aim of £10m savings by 2010. The council also uses a number of core SAP modules such as finance, HR, procurement and property management that have replaced its legacy systems and installed a new voice and data network. The council’s technology priorities include limiting the range of device and server flavours and manufacturers, locating and maintaining server hardware and all operational systems in a secure, managed operating environment, storing all active data in a central storage area network and using TCP/IP.