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Covid pandemic “highlighted the benefits” of shared IT service in Gwent

THE Covid-19 pandemic has “highlighted the benefits” of a partnership delivering IT services between four Gwent councils and Gwent Police, an Audit Wales report has found.

The Shared Resource Service (SRS) provides IT services for Newport, Monmouthshire, Torfaen and Blaenau Gwent councils, as well as Gwent Police.

Public sector watchdog, Audit Wales, has published a report following a review examining whether the collaboration is working effectively and what improvements could be made so that it is well placed for the future.

The report found partners have a shared understanding and input into the SRS’s vision and plans, and that they have seen “increased benefits” from collaborating during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Those who participated in the review said the pandemic had “highlighted the benefits of SRS”, and that the service is bringing improvements which would not have been achieved working individually.

The roll-out of Microsoft Teams and Office 365 “at pace” have shown the value of the partnership, according to the report.

“Covid has cemented the importance and benefits of SRS on a local footprint,” it added.

While the partnership was “generally seen as good value for money and a cost-effective way of delivering IT services”, auditors said there was a “lack of evidence” to show it is providing good value for money to all partners.

The report has recommended that work is carried out to show the collaboration is providing value for money for all partners in the scheme.

Improving communication and access to information within the service was also highlighted in the report.

Auditors suggested improvements to communication between board members with partner organisations, and developing a system of documents and decisions relating to the various boards easier to access.

The Audit Wales report concluded: “SRS partners consider that the collaboration has delivered effectively during the pandemic and, to be well placed for the future, it would benefit from improved communication, more effective sharing of digital aspirations and learning, addressing its workforce challenges, and being able to demonstrate value for money.

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Covid pandemic “highlighted the benefits” of shared IT service in Gwent