West Sussex County Council serves more than 750,000 citizens in the south east of the UK. With an annual budget of around £700 million, the council provides an enormous range of services – from education to fire prevention, highways maintenance to waste management.

The council holds the highest possible rating, ‘Excellent’, from the UK Audit Commission. The council is an enthusiastic adopter of new technologies, under the guidance of chief e-government strategist Roland Mezulis and head of IS Robert Christie. As part of a major overhaul of the council’s IT architecture, the two men have recently overseen the rollout of a new J2EE core strategic platform, along with IBM Websphere and xSeries servers running open source Linux software.

Using open source will save the council almost £500,000 over five years, according to an independent report from the Office of Government Commerce. The new architecture should also deliver longer-term cost savings as the council moves towards more web applications and self-service. As a first step, the council is migrating content management to the Websphere and xSeries platform, followed by other web applications.

It is also collaborating with other public sector agencies to develop innovative web services. West Sussex recently announced a partnership with seven district councils, Sussex Police and the local health authority to use a CRM system to provide integrated information services across the county.