Auckland Council recently released figures showing the level of investment in its IT services over the last five years and how its key IT transformation project, NewCore, has been funded.
NewCore is one of the most significant projects Auckland Council has undertaken since amalgamation. The aim of NewCore is to combine more than 3500 computing systems inherited from the eight legacy councils. NewCore will be a coherent, single system which provides the best possible IT support for staff and service to ratepayers.
The figures show that between 2012 and 2014 staff costs relating to IT services went down from $38 million to $30 million, respectively.
More staff were brought in during the last financial year to focus on NewCore, which explains operational costs of $39 million for that year. This is within the allocated budget given to Information Services (IS), the unit driving the NewCore project. While contributing to increased overall IT budget, NewCore as a project remains within budget, scope and programme.
The project is currently in the final stages of testing in preparation for a major update in June 2016 ahead of a further update in 2017, which will complete the rollout of the project to all regions.
Unlocking Auckland’s potential
“We know delivering NewCore is the key to unlocking Auckland Council’s potential as an e-governance leader,” says Mark Denvir, Head of Information Services at the council. “In future, you will be able to interact with council online a lot more, for example renewing dog licenses to lodging building consents.”
“NewCore will also enhance internal processes at council, which will provide a consistent customer experience for all regions.”
“We’re in a transformational phase,” Mark says. “Yes, investment in projects such as NewCore will peak but over time will prove cost-effective and costs will trend downwards, ultimately saving Aucklanders both money and time when carrying out their council-related business.”
The council acknowledges increases to staff costs may be concerning for ratepayers. However, there has been a significant decrease in spend on professional IT services, or external contractors, from $10 million in 2012 to just $1 million in 2014.
IT covers internal and external services, for both employees and ratepayers, with the long-term goal to become an agile and well-equipped e-governance leader.
E-governance relates to traditional council services being made available online, such as dog owner licence renewals and rates payments. This will make it easier for Aucklanders to keep up to date with their council-related responsibilities.
The council’s repairs and maintenance bill has also trended down significantly, from $3.9 million in 2012 to $270,000 so far this year. This is due to council moving away from 12 legacy data storage infrastructure services to just one, outsourced over 2013/14 and now managed through operating leases with Spark. This explains the increase in operating lease costs, to $15 million in 2015, Mark says.
Continued streamlining of legacy contracts, for services such as telecommunications, has seen costs trend downwards since 2013.
The operational and capital costs for IT Services since amalgamation can be viewed below.