To position Mayo County Council as a sectoral exemplar in technical transformational initiatives and leader in technical innovation while providing our staff, councillors, citizens, visitors and businesses with a secure digital platform for enhanced service delivery.
Mission Statement for the Information Systems Strategy (2020 – 2022)
In the next 3 years we will optimise our service delivery and platform provision with streamlined processes underpinned by an improved data and analytics capability. We will achieve this by providing a robust, secure, hybrid infrastructure and optimised IS Service delivery for our internal customers and councillors. An enhanced governance structure will see the establishment of an Information Systems Steering Group (ISG) that ensures enhanced business/IT alignment and appropriate management and reporting structures.
Mayo County Council’s Information Systems Department supports the operation of the Council from a technology perspective that aligns with the business requirements and embraces a citizen first approach. Our focus is on optimising and transforming our service delivery, enabling our staff to fully leverage our current and expanding digital workplace and utilising data in a secure and transparent way, to inform decision-making and influence policy formulation.
The above will be achieved by building and upskilling our Information Systems team while developing a platform-based approach to technology infrastructure and technical service delivery. Hence yielding the requisite capabilities and competencies to implement the IS Strategy.
In the wider digital ecosystem, Mayo County Council will partner with local, national, and international entities, including 3rd level institutions and industry partners in a knowledge-sharing model that highlights Mayo as a technical leader that places citizens at the centre of digital innovation.
The strategic objectives of the IS Department as aligned to the Corporate Plan are summarised as follows:
- Provide a robust online platform for coordinated service delivery and ICT operations that is state of the art and future proofed.
- Position the Council to leverage opportunities in technology innovation that add value and optimise service delivery supported by the required capabilities.
- Ensure an agile-enabled operation that can respond quickly to corporate and environmental opportunities and threats.
- Establish an effective operating model with clearly defined functions within a service-oriented approach.
- Build staff competencies and capabilities and define a cohesive structure.
Effective Governance for the Local Government Sector will ensure that ICT projects across the sector are aligned with national and sectoral goals and objectives. IS will provide a structure to support ICT and the business in delivering on national initiatives such as the ICT Strategy for Local Government and Putting People First. It will position IS as a trusted partner and advisor to the Council and increase its value proposition for the business, ensuring that money spent in ICT is directed and maximised in supporting corporate and business objectives. An effective Governance model for Mayo County Council’s Information Systems will also promote and support improvements in local initiatives as well as enhanced management of risk and security.
From an Information Systems perspective, governance refers to the decisions that must be made to ensure effective management and use of IS and who makes these decisions. The strategy development function for IS and the sub-sections within the IS Department are delegated to the Head of Information Systems with oversight and approval from the Chief Executive and Management Team (Figure 1).
A key tenet of the IS Strategy (2020-2022) is to develop an IS Steering Group (IS) to monitor and guide the efficient use of IT resources for the organisation with an emphasis on cybersecurity. An extension of the group is also tasked with data governance an area of increasing relevance as we rely more on our data assets. This concept will be fully developed in the related Data Strategy for Mayo County Council.
IS Department Principles
Principles are statements of direction that provide a foundation for decision making in the selection, implementation, and evolution of information systems. They serve as an important part of the IS strategy and ensure the alignment of information system uses and development with the council’s mission, strategic objectives, and goals. A set of IS principles has been developed that adapts and extends the principles for the wider local government sector as outlined in the IS Strategy.
The alignment between business and IT is paramount and the IS Strategy will build on the corporate plan and strategic objectives of the Council. A key enabler in this regard is an Enterprise Architecture approach to understanding our functions and services. EA is used to provide a holistic view of processes, data, application systems and technology infrastructure from current (as-is) to future (target) states. This holistic view, or blueprint, provides strategic context for planning the evolution of information systems into an integrated environment that is responsive to change and supports the delivery of the Council’s strategy. It is intended that the emergent reference architecture under development by the Architecture and Standards Group (ASG) of the Local Government Management Agency (LGMA) will be adopted by Mayo County Council to ensure a consistent approach and alignment with national initiatives.
An effective Operating Model underpins the delivery of services and achievement of strategic goals. The IS Operating Model describes the services provided by the department, categorised into higher level IS Functions. The individual or team responsible for managing and delivering the services of a particular function are assigned to the to the functional role. As the EA programme is further defined the operating model will be an essential building block for successful design and delivery.
IT Service Desk
Customers of the IS department are primarily staff and councillors and the ethos of the IS section is to provide this service in an efficient and courteous manner. The implementation of a cloud-based service desk management system has helped to streamline service and incident requests. The service desk is designed using the industry standard ITIL (IT Infrastructure Library) framework and include an IT asset registry, supplier and contract management, a knowledgebase and change management database (CMDB). The latter to ensure controlled system changes and updates. Operating Level Agreements are agreed between the IS and other council departments, with mutually agreed response times and escalation procedures. These targets are supported by Service Level Agreements with 3rd party service providers where relevant.
Cyber security threats present an on-going challenge to all organisations as dependence on technology and online systems and services continues to grow. The IS Department is cognisant of these threats and will continue and expand on our risk-based approach to cyber security management. Mayo County Council is the only local authority in the country to have achieved ISO 27001 security accreditation and a key objective of this strategy is to successfully maintain certification with a three-year re-certification successfully achieved in June 2020. It is planned to build on the current certification to include ISO 27017 cloud security certification during the lifetime of the strategy. In addition to this we intend to further best practice in IT governance by adopting frameworks and approaches including the international Control Objectives for IT (COBIT) standard.
Mayo County Council actively participates in the development of an architecture and standards model for the sector which includes the standardisation of service descriptions across all local authorities. This service catalogue will inform the design of our service delivery, website and records management for the organisation.
Current trends in information systems advocate for a platform-based approach to technology service delivery. This approach ensures that internal IT service delivery as well as citizen-facing services are delivered as a coherent set of tools and technologies. The strategic design of our technology platform ensures an integrated and coherent approach to IS service delivery for the organisation. The platform will ensure a resilient, high availability hardware and software environment that embraces our cloud-first and value-for-money principles and delivers on the business continuity objectives of the corporate plan. Figure 2 presents a high-level perspective of the platform components which will be further developed during the term of the IS strategy in addition to continued rollout of our cloud platforms, records management programme and citizen engagement platforms.