MILLIONS of pounds of taxpayers’ money will be saved after Wigan and Bolton councils struck a deal to share their IT services.
The two councils, together with Wigan and Leigh Housing and Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust, agreed to join forces in their search for a new IT provider – meaning costs could be shared.
The four organisations have now signed a contract with technology specialists Agilisys. It came into effect on Friday and will save Wigan Council nearly £1million a year.
Coun Ged Bretherton, Wigan Council’s cabinet member for efficiency, praised the new partnership.
He said: “Increasingly as councils we’ve got to think imaginatively to find new ways of saving money. Creating partnerships like this with neighbouring councils is a proven and effective way of driving down costs.
“This deal will save Wigan Council £6.65m over the seven years of the contract.
“I’m really pleased we’ve been able to work together on this contract. Getting our IT systems right is hugely important and without that technology the services we provide to the public would suffer.
“But it’s also right to find the best deal for taxpayers. I’m confident we have got both those things right in this case.”
Coun Cliff Morris, leader of Bolton Council, said: “We were looking for a supplier who would be able to transform services through new technologies and respond quickly to changes in customer requirements.
“Agilisys were best placed to do this and we are confident they will work with us to provide value for money services for the residents of Bolton and Wigan.
“Day-to-day support and know how will continue to be provided by staff based locally in Bolton and Wigan, who will be working closely together with Agilisys to share knowledge and best practice, taking advantage of the wide expertise across the partnership.”
With more advanced technology available, each organisation will be able to offer better services to the public. Agilisys, who already provide IT for several councils, have promised to bring the latest technologies to Wigan and Bolton and the contract includes guarantees about the quality of the service they will provide.
Steven Beard, chief executive officer of Agilisys, said: “We are proud to have been awarded the contract for this innovative shared service partnership and we look forward to working closely with all partners to deliver lasting IT-enabled improvements, bringing benefits to the councils and citizens alike.
“We’re delighted to extend our already strong presence in the North West, providing a strong base for additional growth that will continue to enhance the value we deliver to our customers across the region.”