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Westminster scraps CIO role to boost shared IT services push

Council will share one IT division with two other London councils to save £6m

London

Westminster City Council is set to lose its CIO role in an update of its shared services partnership with two other London authorities.

The council has had an interim CIO, Ben Goward, since June 2011, according to his LinkedIn profile, but the role will be deleted as of April this year.

Instead, Ed Garcez will become the single CIO for the tri-borough partnership established in December 2013 by Westminster, the London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham and the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea.

All three councils are cutting roles to reduce duplication, as they embark on a plan to share a single IT division.

A report on the matter read: "The disconnect between the three sovereign ICT functions, each with their own processes, policies and procedures, is an unnecessary overhead introducing bureaucracy and cost, and sometimes even providing contradictory advice to service users."

The boroughs believe scrapping these posts and relying on one IT department will save an annual 6.55 million from 2017/18.

They claim to already be on track to save 3 million by 2015/16 thanks to IT services already being shared.

The new IT division will be led by six executives responsible for digital services, information management, operations and enterprise architecture among other things, costing a combined 143,000 to establish.

The report added the new model would enable greater co-operation between the trio of councils, as well as others who could benefit.

It read: "The proposed model has been designed to be inclusive and easy to extend to further partners, and there have already been some successes in establishing wider shared services and joint working."

One example cited was a shared mobile device security solution with the boroughs of Westminster, Kensington & Chelsea, Kingston, Lambeth and Sutton.

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