VSJ – July 2003 – Members’ News

Phil Taylor, a director of ITSkillBank.co.uk, writes here about the opportunities being presented at present in local authority IT and how his company can help in matching IT contractors to projects. Until August, you can register with ITSkillBank as a contractor free of charge. After that, as an IAP member, you’re entitled to a 20% discount!

The wave of e-technology sweeping local government is being driven centrally from the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM). With the driving force of John Prescott, it is not surprising that many local governments can now boast Web sites to rival those of the private sector.

To date, most such sites are dedicated to publishing information relevant to the public, with facilities for registering interest and opinion. The next, more challenging tasks facing the local authorities are the Business-to-Consumer (B2C), and Business-to-Business (B2B) applications.

The B2C applications are mostly payment systems, which must interface with older legacy software. This technology ‘drift’ makes implementation complex, and, as the systems are critical and directly affect the public, control and planning are vital. It also creates a demand for IT people with a wide range of skills, from COBOL programmers to Web developers, not to mention experienced project managers who can plan and implement change safely, using accepted methodologies.

The Local Authorities of England and Wales spend about £25 billion a year on goods and services. E-procurement using B2B applications is being developed to save on costs and must be implemented by 2005 according to the ODPM. As well as interfacing to external suppliers, local authorities have complex relationships with other public sector organizations, such as the Health Authority, and housing associations.

There are rumours of a major reorganization of local authorities emanating from Whitehall, which will create more work in the short term, so it is not surprising that the IT departments need extra resource to deliver this new technology.

ITSkillBank.co.uk provides the Public Sector with an easily searchable directory of professional contractors who wish to work direct, without intermediary agencies. This method of resourcing IT fits the aims of e-procurement defined by the ODPM and it is interesting to note that choosing to work direct does not affect the way in which the Inland Revenue’s IR35 is applied to IT contractors.

See www.ITSkillBank.co.uk for more details. You can contact Phil at contactus@ITSkillBank.co.uk

[Don’t forget to email eo@iap.org.uk with items of news about you or your company.]

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