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'Ageing' IT structure at council is set to be upgraded

Cannock Chase Council is set to spend more than £240,000 replacing its ageing IT infrastructure.

Cannock Chase Council is set to upgrade its IT infrastructure

Cabinet members approved the buying of replacement network equipment at a cabinet meeting on Thursday to ensure the security of the authority’s IT systems.

Councillor Jacquie Prestwood, resources and transformation portfolio leader, said: “The council has an ageing IT infrastructure which needs to be replaced to avoid network failure and to ensure service delivery. The current infrastructure is approximately 17 years old and is now starting to show signs of failure.

“Replacement of infrastructure will mean a more reliable stable network. It is very important this comes forward to enable the council to be able to function.”

Councillor Andrea Muckley, environment and climate change portfolio leader, said: “When we discuss this as a cabinet I would mention the importance of looking at whether the cables can be recycled.”

Council leader Tony Johnson said: “Environmentally it makes sense to recycle and use where possible.”

In total £243,410 has been earmarked for the replacement equipment. A report to Thursday’s meeting said: “In respect of funding there is a specific IT reserve which has a balance of approximately £154,000 – this leaves a balance of £89,410.

“Due to the urgent nature of the replacements required the balance will be funded by a review and re allocation of earmarked reserve balances held. This will leave no IT reserve for the council going forwards.

“It is proposed to replace the equipment in 2024/25 and to establish a rolling refresh programme for ongoing replacements every 8-10 years. Historically there has been no provision in the technology strategy for day-to-day housekeeping and maintenance of assets.

“Custom and practise has been to retain assets for as long as possible and only to replace when essential to do so. There is a growing demand on the network since the pandemic; this increased pressure on the existing infrastructure and the growing use of cloud-based solutions needs investment.

“To improve the network for all users and the business we are looking to replace network equipment with new more modern core and perimeter switches. The replacement equipment will mean a more reliable, stable network to enable us to digitally transform the council.”