Surrey County Council's Paul Brocklehurst CIO plans co-operation to improve IT

In March seven local authorities came together to form the strategic body SE7 and a leader in this Home Counties group of authorities is Surrey County Council. Its head of information management and technology Paul Brocklehurst told CIO what the consortium will deliver to its residents.

The SE7 consortium will be led by Surrey and East Sussex and includes West Sussex, Kent, Hampshire, Medway and Brighton & Hove councils.

The councils have a combined annual budget of £3.4bn and Andrew Povey, the new leader of Surrey County Council, said at its launch: “By ‘bulk buying’ we will enjoy economies of scale and provide even greater value for money for the 5.3 million residents SE7 represents. All seven councils recognise that in the current financial climate they will need to remove several hundred million pounds of costs over the next few years and this is one way we can help to achieve it.”

Brocklehurst explains that SE7 is a structured approach to a series of previously loose collaborations between local auth­orities in the south east of England.

“SE7 has four main priorities: waste, highways, procurement and ICT. These are the four big spends that have collaborative potential and ways of saving money and improving performance,” he says.

“The complexity of the contracts can be overcome,” he says honestly of the IT challenge that the councils collectively face. SE7 is almost born out of the collaborative nature of CIOs, whatever the sector.

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