Newham London Borough Council is the local authority for the London Borough of Newham. It is one of 32 London Borough Councils in the capital.

The council is unusual in that its executive function is controlled by a directly elected mayor of Newham.
Newham is divided into 20 wards, each electing three councillors. The council was created by the London Government Act 1963 and replaced three local authorities: East Ham Borough Council, West Ham Borough Council and Woolwich Metropolitan Borough Council.

IT leader: Geoff Connell, Joint Head of ICT for Newham and Havering London Boroughs.

In role since: November 2009 in combined role at Newham & Havering.

Reporting line: Executive Director Resources in Newham and Group Director Finance in Havering.

Board level seat: Sit on the corporate leadership teams (top 15 managers in Newham).

IT budget: £13 million revenue and £3 million capital.

IT estate and or number of log on accounts under the control of the IT leader: Approximately 8,000 staff, and approximately 9,000 users.

IT staff currently employed: 142.

Split between in-house/outsourced staff: 90% in-house and 10% outsourced.

IT management team and reporting structure:

  • Three deputies.
  • Two programme managers.
  • One head of information governance.
  • One head of portfolio management.
  • One ICT services manager.

Primary technology platforms at the organisation: Oracle ERP, Microsoft stack for most other activities.

Primary technology suppliers: Microsoft, Oracle, HP, Cisco, EE, Northgate.

Significant strategic technology deals struck in the last 12 months: Oracle for extended rollout of Oracle ERP across London. Microsoft for Lync telephony and a full Unified Communications. 2e2 & Visionware for Customer Services Technology in three boroughs (initially).

Also obtained £500,000 funding from Government Procurement Services to support consolidation of ICT procurement and services across London over next two years.

Major technology or transformation project recently completed and how did it transform operations, customer experience or the organisation: Customer services transformation incorporating channel shift.

Did the above project reach its cost, timing and transformation objective: £12 million per annum savings achieved to date. Slightly delayed, but with an agile approach preferring quality over time.

Business transformation programme – beyond technology – that the CIO owns or is a major contributor to: Main changes are a shift to self-service. That means residents using the website and customer portal instead of face to face or telephony and it means staff and managers using ERP instead of having an army of HR, Payroll, Procurement and Finance staff supporting them. Property portfolio rationalisation and shifting to mobile and flexible working are also significant changes. BYO/CYO are also very popular with elected members, management and mobile workers.

Primarily financial ROI as the budget pressures based on reduced central government settlements are extremely challenging.

Strategic aim of the CIO and IT operation for the next financial year: Operationally: Achieve £1 million plus of further cost reduction from the ICT service, while improving capacity, infrastructure and customer satisfaction.

Organisationally: Complete next phases of transformational change activity. Most notably Customer Services (Channel Shift, Integration & BPR focused), Line of Business improvements, Social Care developments and Public Health re-integration.

Regionally: To drive a major change in shared services working across London with shared ICT procurement the default position for London public sector.

Strategy in the use by employees of their own technology, use of mobiles and how social networking is impacting operations, customer experiences or the organisation: I would like to see customer interactions fully enabled 24/7 online with an excellent user interface. This would be enabled by end to end BPR followed by workflow and systems automation/integration of all high volume transactions. The change programme would be fully resourced in terms of change management, programme/project management, BPR & ICT. All seamlessly blended with CEO and political leadership.

Technologies being considered to enable transformation:

  • Website, Portal and Dynamics CRM for Customer Services.
  • Oracle eBusiness Suite v12 ERP for back office.
  • Microsoft Office and Lync stack for officer efficiency & flexible working.
  • Oracle extension across additional boroughs (six confirmed so far).
  • Microsoft Dynamics & SharePoint for Customer Services for more transactions and across more boroughs (three boroughs live and two more confirmed, with 20+ expressions of interest).

Transformational inspiration sources: My peers and industry news publications.