Sopra appointed ICT project delivery partner to Cheshire Shared Services

Sopra and Cheshire Shared Services partner for a major initiative to deliver innovative, better and more efficient customer services through the effective use of IT.

Sopra, a major European Consulting, Systems Integration, Application Outsourcing, and Application Solutions company, today announced that after a competitive tender process Cheshire Shared Services have appointed it to be their ICT Project Delivery Partner. This will involve working in partnership to provide enhanced ICT across all services within the organisation's remit which ultimately benefit the residents of Cheshire.

John Callan, Head of Shared Services said, "We're really pleased to have Sopra on-board to help us drive forward a massive change agenda in the Councils that Cheshire Shared Services deliver to. Sopra allows us to benefit from their worldwide experience and expertise in clever and cost-effective solutions to public sector challenges. Their knowledge of IT infrastructure, systems and application capabilities will really add value to our business and enable us to get the best possible outcomes for our customers. I believe this is a unique agreement in the market place where both organisations are developing the business in an innovative way to deliver results and solutions in a challenging public sector environment."

Cllr Dave Brown, Deputy Leader of Cheshire East Council and lead councillor for Cheshire Shared Services said, "It is vital that we employ industry experts in our business especially when these systems and processes ultimately help us to become more efficient and provide cost- effective services to our residents. A whole range of local services from libraries and leisure to schools and social care are all supported by technological solutions, all of which have to be innovative and in line with customer expectations and demands. We are very much looking forward to working with Sopra in this mutually beneficial partnership."

Cheshire Shared Services are seeking to provide enhanced services to citizens and reduce the cost burden to the Council.  They selected Sopra due to their proven partnering approach and ability to offer expertise in many areas of Public Sector ICT support with a genuine common interest in continuous improvement for the benefit of both organisations.  The work of Cheshire Shared Services supports a wide range of services offered to the community such as enabling residents to do more online such as accessing the full range of library services including  talking books, online magazines and music, getting local transport timetables and realtime updates, keeping in touch with waste and recycling collection changes, leisure and community information as well as paying for council services online including council tax.

Cllr Les Ford, Deputy Leader of Cheshire West & Chester Council and Lead Councillor for Cheshire Shared Services said, "Agreements such as this one with Sopra are an important part of the Council's drive to do things differently for the benefit of local people.  This is also positive for the local economy as this contract has already seen 12 members of staff employed from the area to support the work with hopefully more in the future."

Sopra has been appointed initially for 2 years with a further 1 year optional extension within the terms of the contract.

Alison McLaughlin, Head of Public Sector, Sopra stated: "We are looking forward to developing a long-term relationship with Cheshire Shared Services and will enjoy assisting the delivery of improved services to citizens wherever possible.  This contract also provides Sopra with the opportunity to build on our existing investment in the Cheshire area, through increased recruitment as well as enhancing the skill-set of our current team."