Hampshire is based in Winchester on the southern coast of England. Hampshire County Council provides services to the 1.28 million population of the county. The council has around 42,000 employees including education and health professionals, who work across 300 services. The council is one of the few remaining who have their own architecture design studio, meaning a large proportion of the county’s buildings are designed within the council. The council has around £1.7 billion in annual turnover.
The council has its own website and internal intranet, Hansnet, which operates as the council’s primary platform. Hampshire has a range of programmes put in place which aim to aid the transformation of the council including their Customer Access Strategy. One of the council’s aims for the next year is to reduce their infrastructure costs by aligning the corporate and IT objectives. The council has consolidated their public sector network (PSN) alongside Kent County Council to save on spending. The initiative was devised by the council’s current CIO and aims to allow information about colleagues to be shared easier and for the reduction of duplicate lines of data.
Jos Creese is the current CIO for Hampshire County Council and has been in the role for 10 years. He has previously been head of SOCTIM and ran the digital Hampshire strategy last year.
IT leader: Jos Cresse, CIO.
In role since: February 2001.
Reporting line: Director of Corporate Resources.
How often does the CIO meet with the CEO: Twice per month on average.
Board level seat: Not on the main board, but several leadership boards chaired by the Chief Executive.
IT budget: £48m, but this is demand led. For example, 30% comes from external business from sale of services such as Hampshire IT support.
Budget is about 3% of overall turnover (£1.7 billion in the turnover of the Council).
IT estate and or number of log on accounts under the control of the IT leader: 20,000 accounts, about 50% of workforce. Others log-in via the internet to web services.
We are rolling out pupil accounts (up to 60,000 accounts). We also support websites for over 1,600 organisations.
IT staff currently employed: 380 – a reduction of around 50 posts as part of cuts programme in 18 months.
Split between in-house/outsourced staff: There are around 50-100 external/outsourced staff – but difficult to count.
IT management team and reporting structure: Chief Technical Officer, Head of Programmes and Projects, Four IT Business Partners, plus professional HR and Finance strategic advisers on the IT management team.
Primary technology platforms at the organisation: Given the reach and range of Council services, there are many core systems for specialist areas – transport, libraries, school curriculum, planning, suppliers. The core ERP system is SAP.
Primary technology suppliers: Microsoft, IBM, Virgin, SAP, Northgate.
Significant strategic technology deals struck in the last 12 months:
- I represented local government in the national negotiations pan-public service agreement with SAP.
- ESRI local public shared service contract for GIS, first of its kind.
- Microsoft ‘Cloud’ service for corporate and school adoption – a first for this scale for Microsoft in the UK.
- Over the last 12 months I oversaw a programme to re-negotiate the top 75 IT contracts as part of a wider cost reduction programme for the County Council, reducing total costs on average by nearly 10%.
Percentage of your applications/infrastructure run from the cloud: Around 10% public cloud (by end 2012), around 80% private cloud (shared).
Major technology or transformation project recently completed and how did it transform operations, customer experience or the organisation: All IT enabled projects are managed through a single Programme Management Office and assessed through a standard bid prioritisation mechanism. There are on average 100 on the books at any time, and at least 6-10 major transformational programmes.
Hampshire Workstyle is one programme delivering mobile and flexible working for staff, corporate document management solution and a completely refurbished headquarters office. This has hot desking throughout, thin client, multi-function printing devices, WiFi access and staff are operating in a completely flexible way, with secure access from home or on the move. As part of the programme, we have located the main computer centre into the headquarters building to recycle heat and energy, reusing up to 70% of otherwise wasted heat from the computer centre to heat the building during the winter months. We have won ‘Green’ awards for the building and also for our IT based centre operation. Printing ratios have reduced from 1 in 4 to 1 in 28, and the building accommodates twice as many people. Hot desking and mobile working has resulted in significant productivity gains and savings to travel. Importantly it has helped to accelerate an internal self-service programme for common corporate transactions.
Did the above project reach its cost, timing and transformation objective: The project fully met its time, quality and cost targets, including the move of the data centre. Work is now underway to transform the whole of the organisation and all buildings in a similar manner.
Business transformation programme – beyond technology – that the CIO owns or is a major contributor to: I have directly led a number of programmes, but in particular the integration of Havant Borough Council and East Hampshire District Council over the last 12 months, culminating in proposals I made agreed at the full Council of both organisations. This not only transforms the way in which the three organisations of the different tiers of government work together, but will provide a basis for wider adoption using a similar business model elsewhere.
This year I led a Digital Hampshire Strategy, which has since been adopted across the majority of public service organisations in Hampshire.
Strategic aim of the CIO and IT operation for the next financial year: To enable integrated back office functions to be delivered across the County Council with Hampshire Police and Hampshire Fire & Rescue Services, following a business case agreement for full consolidation. I led the business case for the IT elements, both as a shared service and as an enabler of shared services.
Delivery of efficiency targets for the organisation through IT enabled change programmes to meet budgets cuts.
To support the Council’s Integrated Business Centre implementation, delivering standardised best practice transactions which can be made available to other organisations on a VPO basis.
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: Hampshire County Council has an reputation for use of technology to allow mobile and flexible working. We are supporting a ‘Bring Your Own Device’ approach, and empowering employees to use their own devices at home. We have operated a ‘thin client’ architecture with secure access from home that allows the safe use of PCs for secure transactions as if in the office, managed PDAs and tablets, such as iPads. We encourage the use of social networking for business application, but with a clear code of conduct. There are over 100 examples across the Council, using Facebook and Twitter in particular to engage the public.
Strategy for dealing with shadow IT and BYOD including influence and engagement with executives, to place the right controls around employee choice: IT is already fully centralised across the County Council following changes in 2010. IT business partners have a joint reporting line to the CIO with a dotted line to heads of resources in departments. Their success is measured by the value delivered by IT investment in all departments and services, including externally.
Much of my time is spent influencing and engaging other service heads to ensure that IT reflect business needs and issues but also that IT strategy is integrated in service planning.
For a public service organisation we believe we are taking a lead in responsible management of risk around new technologies and employee and customer empowerment in a way we design and deliver electronic services.
It is not the role of IT to provide a ‘policing function’ but to ensure appropriate employee choice and an understanding of risks that maximise the value of new technologies without creating unintended consequences.
Technologies being considered to enable transformation: The philosophy for IT at the County Council is about using proven technology to drive innovation, not ‘innovative technology’. This means we put a high store on the creativity, lateral thinking and technical competence of our IT professionals working hand-in-glove with our business colleagues, rather than new technology.
Transformational inspiration sources: Anywhere! Business colleagues, other organisations, national programmes, conferences nationally and internationally, books, magazines.
I enjoy learning from others and my cross-sector experience working on assignments on an ‘pro-bono’ basis helps me to maintain a fresh and challenging view on Hampshire’s IT.