Staffordshire County Council is looking to appoint an IT business engagement manager to support the local authority’s change from being technology-driven to more business-driven.

The council is becoming more of a commissioning organisation as it faces the challenge of saving £100 million over the next five years, according to CIO Sander Kristel.

“We are not looking to outsource, but as an organisation we are becoming a commissioner of services. Other organisations are delivering services on our behalf, so there will be more organisations that we work with,” he said.

“Helping the organisation to change and finding someone dedicated to that change is really important to us, [so that we have] a better understanding of what the business requires.”

While Kristel’s role as CIO is to look at the organisation as a whole, liaising with the business at a director level (he reports to Staffordshire’s chief financial officer), the new ICT business engagement manager will be more involved at the operational level, he said.

Rather than delegating existing CIO duties, Kristel said that the position is about adding more capacity to his IT team.

“It is more of a detailed role, looking more at business processes,” he said.

“They will liaise with other business managers within the organisation and really understand the operation of the business. They will also have a team to manage, including business analysts and project managers.”

Examples of projects that the new engagement manager will be responsible for include one that Staffordshire developed and started last month. It built a large, integrated health trust comprising of 1,000 social workers and health workers.

“There was quite a significant amount of work to make that service seamless. There are a lot of things to put in, in regards to information, data and systems,” said Kristel.

Another project is one that the council has put out to tender, to set up a joint venture with a commercial organisation to provide school services, including IT support.

Kristel said that technical experience for the new role would be “very useful”, because the person would need to understand how the different business requirements relate to technology, but that it was not a major requirement for the role.

“A major part is to understand the business, but someone without any technical knowledge or background will find the post difficult,” he said.

Interviews for the role are starting next week, with the aim of appointing an ICT business engagement manager as soon as possible.