Durham

Head of ICT Services 2009 – 2017 

I joined Durham County Council in October 2009, six months after their vesting day, which saw the unification of seven former district councils and one former county council into the new authority. In addition to bringing the differing ICT services together my team included a Schools ICT service, a design and print function, a business support function as well as a managed service unit (MSU) for the Building Schools for the Future programme (BSF).

I had full strategic and operational responsibility for the ICT Services, with as many as 401 employees, a gross annual revenue budget of £23 million and a capital budget of up to £10 million.

I reported to the Strategic Director for Resources and was a member of the council’s senior management team.

In addition, I played a significant regional role as chair of the North East ICT Managers, covering the seven local authorities, the Society of ICT Managers within the North East (Socitm NE) and the North East Combined Authority Digital Leads Group.  I am also a board member of Dynamo, an organisation that is working to develop the ICT industry in the region.

In 2013, I provided strategic ICT support to the Information Services (IS) at Northumberland County Council for an interim period.

During my time at Durham I:

  • Defined the Council’s technical and ICT Strategy, including an agreed target-operating model and architecture.
  • Developed a strategic approach to transform the ICT Services from ten organisations (former districts, County Council, Design and Print and Schools Services) into a single, customer focussed modern service.
  • Transformed the culture of ICT Services with a much more agile approach and shifted its focus from support to change enablement.
  • Reduced the overall numbers of people in the service by half with the Leadership Team going from eight to three whilst re-focussing the team on key activities.
  • Instigated a communications programme, including staff presentations, and ICT intranet page, monthly newsletters, a weekly blog and information poster campaign.
  • Developed a prioritisation mechanism to ensure that the council focuses its change resource on key projects based upon need.
  • Consolidated all of the former district applications into single applications, including people, finance, revenues and benefits, planning and environmental health.
  • Developed the Digital Durham programme to provide next generation broadband for all homes and businesses in the County, while taking the lead in conjunction with nine other local authorities.
  • Reduced the amount of support calls to the Service Desk while decreasing the amount of outstanding work from the equivalent of ten day’s calls to approximately two days.
  • Brought all of the Council’s 10,000 desktops into a standard build, a single domain and with common tools, including outlook mail, anti-virus and Microsoft Office, while lifting from various operating systems to Windows 7 and now Windows 10.
  • Instigated a replacement programme with over 60% of all users now on portable devices to improve agility and the widespread provision of smartphones
  • Developed and approach to business continuity including the provision of a second resilient data centre.
  • Unitised the council’s Business Support service across three service groupings, including Personal Assistants and the Coroner’s office, improving processes and reducing expenditure.
  • Replaced the core network with a Multi-Protocol Label Switching network to separate customer data traffic in a secure and robust manner.
  • Reduced the number of telephony systems from fourteen to one IP telephony system that runs across the council’s data network.
  • Replaced all individual printers with Multi Functional Devices allowing users to print from anywhere to anywhere is a secure manner.
  • Implemented a cross-council outbound mailing system leading to a significant annual reduction in postage costs.
  • Supported the Council’s accommodation strategy by moving parts of the service to Seaham Spectrum 8 and from Gilesgate to Meadowfield.
  • Grew the external business in data centres, networks, and schools including a managed service unit for eight Building Schools for the Future schools
  • Achieved and maintained a secure environment complaint with the Public Services Network and Payment Card Industry security standards, with no significant data breeches.
  • Reduced the net revenue requirements of the service by 40%.