Geoff Connell, director of ICT at oneSource, the joint committee overseeing IT transformation at Newham and Havering Councils in London, has been appointed head of ICT and information management at Norfolk County Council.
Connell, who is also president of Socitm, the Society of Information Technology Management in the public sector, was appointed to the £115,000 position following a three-month recruitment process.
One of the key roles that Connell will take on is Digital Norfolk Ambition, the council's troubled £26m IT transformation project with Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), Microsoft and Vodafone signed in December 2013.
The deal was intended to help update the council's IT infrastructure while delivering savings of more than £10m from the council's IT budget over the next five years.
However, reports from the council indicate a series of problems from defects in new laptops given to staff to problems shifting the council's in-house IT estate into HPE's data centres. Delays have consequently built up and the contract was estimated to be 4.7 per cent over budget after just 18 months.
The project has been branded a potential "catastrophe" by councillor Roger Smith in the local press, following an official report into claims that it was going over budget and missing deadlines.
"This report shows there is a catastrophe looming. It demonstrates what we are hearing on the ground with staff frustrated at the lack of support and how the programme is going. Our services will fail if this contract does not succeed," Smith told the Eastern Daily Press.
However, Anne Gibson, executive director of resources at the council, suggested that investment in IT had been at a historically low point when the deal with HPE was signed, and that in many respects the council is playing catch-up.
Connell has also spearheaded a programme dubbed London Supercloud which is intended to enable all 33 London boroughs, as well as health authorities and possibly other public sector bodies, to tap into the same IT resources with the aim of providing better, cheaper services to residents and businesses.
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