IT overhaul of Reading Borough Council puts citizen at the heart of services

A £13.2 million collaborative project is set to transform Reading Borough Council’s shared IT infrastructure, laying the foundations for new digital public services for local people.

The council has appointed North, the UK’s leading IoT service and solutions provider, to integrate a reliable data network at the heart of the council. The new network will allow for a digital transformation of Reading Borough Council’s services for its citizens with e-services and digitalised engagement part of plans to connect communities and improve customer services.

The project covers four areas of IT infrastructure including communications, hosting, networks and workspaces – previously supplied by a single company – and will additionally support the council’s children’s services partner Brighter Futures for Children. Alongside North’s contract for the network, Agilisys will take over responsibility for hosting and workspaces, while Virgin Media Business will run the organisations’ communications technology.

These new partnerships will underpin Reading’s digital transformation plans for the next decade, enabling staff to work more flexibly, customer services to be provided in innovative ways and communities and businesses to become better connected. Specialist digital consultancy Channel 3 Consulting is supporting the council with managing the transition between suppliers.

Martin Chalmers, Chief Digital and Information Officer at Reading Borough Council said “The signing of these deals is a critical and foundational milestone in our digital transformation. They give us the control and flexibility we need to shape digital capabilities to meet the needs of Reading’s residents, businesses and visitors; offer demonstrable value for money; and provide direct benefit to our communities.”

As well as helping Reading Borough Council to build new, digital services, the three companies will be providing wider social benefits for the borough through various employment skills, digital inclusion and other initiatives.

Mark Lowe, Business Development Director at North, said “We are delighted that North has been selected by Reading Borough Council to provide essential Managed Services that will support the council to achieve their transformational vision to create digital public services for local people. As an organisation committed to delivering social value to the communities we work and operate in, we are looking forward to working together and exploring new innovative ways to help to protect and enhance the lives of citizens.”

Andrew Mildenhall, Chief Executive Officer at Agilisys, said “Agilisys firmly believes that partnerships should leave a positive legacy for communities. That’s why we’re delighted to be working with Reading Borough Council to deliver social value through funded places on the Fast Futures initiative, of which we are a founding partner, to ensure young people, post education, gain the vital workplace skills needed to secure part or full-time employment. We’re also providing a digital inclusion bursary and talks on the technology industry and career opportunities to pupils at state-funded secondary schools in the borough.”

Martin McFadyen, Head of Public Sector at Virgin Media Business, said: “We’re proud to be supporting Reading Borough Council’s digital transformation with new tools to accelerate their vision of a connected Reading while giving back to the local community. Together, we are paving the way for public service innovation and enabling employees to provide first-class services for residents and businesses.”


09 June 2021