Business > Efficiency

Pendle agrees 10 year ICT contract extension for channel shift push

Neil Merrett Published 11 July 2017

Authority will continue to partner with Liberata until 2030 as it looks to provide 65% of its services online within five years; transformation focus will look at council-wide functions


Pendle Borough Council has announced a ten year extension of its longstanding ICT partnership with Liberata in a bid to expand the number of self service digital functions that it provides to residents up until 2030.

Building on an agreement that has been in place since 2005, the latest contract extension, valued at £54m, intends to realise a target of having 65% of council services delivered online over the next half decade.  The deal will also target £4.9m in efficiency savings for the council.

While Liberata currently provides a range of services including revenue and benefits, strategic HR and payroll, fraud and error as well as broader IT functions, the continued partnership will look to expand the automation of  functions such as application forms and more streamlined processes supported by new technologies.

Considering that some council services will be more suitable for digital transformation than others, the company pointed to transactional functions such as environmental services as lending themselves to being migrated online.

“Moving such services to digital channels allows councils to automate routine tasks, which in turn focuses efforts on the completion of tasks which require human input, for example customer services teams quickly resolving more complex customer queries,” said Liberata in a statement.

“Often services are completed using a combination of digital channels, such as making applications online, and face to face interactions due to the continued need for specialist employees, all of which focuses on delivering an accurate service for customers.“

The company argued therefore that rather than looking at digitising specific services, it was more interested in broader tasks used across the council that can be streamlined online.

“For example, social care will involve a large degree of expert and trained human input, but large parts of the routine administration and form filling associated with social care can be successfully digitised,” said the company. “This reduces the burden on skilled individuals, such as busy social workers, so that they can spend more time handling complex cases.”

Dean Langton, the council’s strategic director, said that the extension of its work with Liberata was seen as being invaluable in order to better adapt to budgetary challenges facing the authority.

“Liberata has always worked with us to identify alternative ways of doing things, allowing us to realise additional cost savings,” he said. “By continuing our partnership with [the company], we can build on the improvements made to date and achieve even greater things in the future."

In recent years some of the UK’s largest municipal authorities such as Liverpool and Birmingham having undertaken high profile decisions to end longer-term IT partnerships.

With Pendle recommitting itself to a longstanding ICT supplier, Liberata claimed it was well experienced in adapting to significant change during the lifespan of long contracts.

“Over the last 12 years since 2005, this approach has allowed us to respond to economic, social and political changes and demonstrated that long term arrangements can and do work to the mutual benefit of the public sector customer and the end user, the citizen over a sustained period,” said the company in a statement.

Related articles:

Canterbury council aims for 85% of services to be online by 2019

Service Birmingham JV to be dissolved in favour of revised Capita deal

Liverpool City Council awards £10.3m ICT services contract

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