New deal to improve council computers

DETAILS of a ground-breaking new deal between BT and two Suffolk local authorities were being unveiled today.The telecommunications giant, which has a strong presence in the area based at the Adastral Park research centre at Martlesham, is to take over the computer and information technology services run by Suffolk County Council and Mid Suffolk Council.

DETAILS of a ground-breaking new deal between BT and two Suffolk local authorities were being unveiled today.

The telecommunications giant, which has a strong presence in the area based at the Adastral Park research centre at Martlesham, is to take over the computer and information technology services run by Suffolk County Council and Mid Suffolk Council.

How the new system will work was today being unveiled at a joint press conference held by the three organisations.

The new communications centre will be based initially at St Edmund House in Rope Walk in Ipswich, home of the county's environment and transport department until its officers moved to Endeavour House last month.

However it will only be based there for a maximum of four years because after that time the building will be sold to the East of England Development Agency to be included in the new university for Suffolk.

While the three organisations involved are hailing the move as the first phase of creating "joined up government" for Suffolk, others are not so sure.

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There is no certainty that other local authorities will sign up for it and one senior local government figure in the county was keen to express his doubts.

"I'm really not sure what they will achieve by this," he said.

"There have been similar schemes proposed elsewhere and in the end the councils have not gone ahead with them.

"If it is as good as we're hearing then other councils will probably follow - but I'm not holding my breath!"

nDo you think the change will improve council efficiency? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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