A public protection software framework was awarded in order to improve collaboration, efficiencies and resilience across Welsh councils. Councils are now able to use the same software, which aids integrated working.
An initial decision was taken to seek a competitive tender for a public protection software system based on the area of Mid and South West Wales to also include Swansea and Neath Port Talbot.
A project board was established consisting of the heads of service of the 6 authorities (Chair - Head of Public Protection, Pembrokeshire County Council and Chair of Wales' Heads of Environmental Health Group) supported by a project team of officers. This was supported by the regional collaborative IT group and support provided with a project manager (part time) to assist.
The project board initially agreed to open this procurement to all 19 members of the Welsh Purchasing Consortium, but upon request from the project team, the Consortium quickly agreed to extend this to all 22 authorities.
The Heads of Public Protection in Mid and West Wales met to consider how they could improve their ability to work together across organisational boundaries. Fundamental to achieving these would be for all local authorities to use the same back office software system.
Initially the team considered adapting the existing system in place; however, it soon became apparent that this was a relatively major and costly task.
It was recognised that going to the market place to assess the systems available would be the best way forward.
The vision for the framework was to have one instance of a public protection software system held in the cloud that all local authorities could use if they so wished.
Various options were considered and a single supplier framework identified as the preferred option. The requirements were likely to be specific enough so as to appoint a single supplier from which the participating members directly call off and contract. Therefore the strategy determined that one lot would cover the whole geographical area.
The framework offers no guarantee of participation by members, allowing them to decide on their participation after the contract award.
The framework may:
- assist seamless mergers of local authorities (when appropriate)
- reduce costs and support resilience
- support mobile working, and
- enable front office reporting tools and information for the public.
Because of the national focus of the project, other benefits include the development of national registers for public protection and the provision of data returns to Welsh Government and other agencies requiring them such as the Food Standards Agency.
Seeking a cloud based solution achieves other financial and resource savings, as central hosting releases IT resources at individual authorities. The specification will be weighted for open standards to allow porting of data as required, and to reduce additional costs of connecting to other existing software systems.
Mobile working is an important part of the delivery of public protection services and the procurement addressed this in the specification, whilst still delivering significant savings.
Name: Mark Elliott
Title/role: Head of Public Protection
Organisation: Pembrokeshire County Council
Telephone: 01437 775721