Monmouthshire County Council, Torfaen Council, and Gwent Police have formally welcomed Blaenau Gwent to the Shared Resource Service (SRS) as an official partner.  Based in Blaenavon, the SRS is the ICT provider created by the merger of ICT teams from Gwent Police, Monmouthshire County Council and Torfaen council in 2011.

 Signing the formal Deed of Adherence at an SRS board meeting on18th October were Monmouthshire’s Cabinet Member for Resources, Councillor Phil Murphy, Police and Crime Commissioner for Gwent, Jeff Cuthbert, Torfaen Council’s Deputy Leader Anthony Hunt and Blaenau Gwent’s Executive Member for Financial Management & Strategy, Councillor Hedley McCarthy.

 The formal partnership sees Blaenau Gwent’s ICT staff, structures and systems merge into the SRS in order to increase staff capacity, widen access to ICT expertise and enhance services.  The merger also brings investment of £12m over five years to invest in ICT service improvements while delivering annual efficiency savings.

 The IT merger follows an external review of Blaenau Gwent’s ICT services in 2014 which highlighted a number of issues with the existing ICT strategy, resilience and structure.  Blaenau Gwent councillors voted to join the SRS at a full council meeting held earlier this year.

 Cllr Hedley McCarthy, Blaenau Gwent’s Executive Member for Financial Management & Strategy, said: “Earlier this year we explored all the benefits and risks to determine a preferred solution and it resulted in a recommendation to join the SRS as a partner.  It was clear efficiencies of scale, service improvements and digital transformation could be best achieved by pooling resources and expertise.  For Blaenau Gwent, this will sustain IT service levels into the future and contributes to our overall budget challenge.  We have started to migrate systems onto collaborative platforms and there’s been a smooth transition for staff.”

 Deputy Leader of Torfaen council, Cllr Anthony Hunt said: “This is a significant milestone for the SRS and another example of the growing collaborative service model in Gwent.  The financial challenges currently facing councils continue to be an opportunity the SRS and I’m certain more partners will follow.”

 The Police and Crime Commissioner for Gwent, Jeff Cuthbert, added: “It is only through strong collaborative working with other key public services we can seek to provide the best possible quality of life for our citizens.  Sharing our resources and expertise effectively in this way enables us to take advantage of the latest technology and ensures we continue to be accessible to our communities.”

 Monmouthshire’s Cabinet Member for Resources, Councillor Phil Murphy said: “We welcome Blaenau Gwent’s partnership in the SRS and look to expand services to other public service partners.  Collaboration has never been so important as we seek to find efficiencies and better ways of delivering services.  This is an excellent example of transformational public services and contributes to our vision to make our communities the most connected in the UK.”