ICS providers welcome Tory efficiency plans

Integrated children's system (ICS) providers have welcomed Tory promises to slash budgets in government-funded IT.

Integrated children’s system (ICS) providers have welcomed Tory promises to slash budgets in government-funded IT.

In an interview with the Financial Times last week, Tory efficiency adviser Sir Peter Gershon said between £2bn and £4bn could be saved by renegotiating contracts with IT suppliers and scrapping poorly performing IT projects.

David Grigsby, head of business development at ICS provider Liquidlogic, said that, although the Tories may not give any more money to ICS, he doubted the system would be scrapped.

“For all the controversy that ICS has caused, it has still led to a significant improvement in IT and we would argue that it has done so more efficiently than many central projects,” Grigsby said.

He said Tory plans should allow more local authorities to secure better deals on ICS by working together.

“One way to improve efficiencies is for local governments to procure systems together,” he added. “For instance, the London boroughs of Lewisham, Islington and Kingston replaced legacy systems through one procurement and achieved significant cost savings.

“We are talking to other councils considering replacing old IT by paying for licences and implementation over five years via a leasing approach. In this way replacing an old system with expensive running costs can be cost-neutral.”

Robert Fitzgerald, children’s services product manager at ICS provider OLM Systems, said the Conservative approach would give local authorities more freedom when buying ICS products.

“Inevitably, they {authorities] will still spend money on ICS, but it’s all about context – local authorities have to be allowed to focus the money where they need it most. Every local authority is different.”

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