Case Study 9: The Regional Council Information Technology Consortium
Horizons*, Waikato, Taranaki, Southland, West Coast, and Otago Regional Councils.
The Regional Council Information Technology Consortium came about from an arrangement between Waikato and Horizons Regional Councils to exchange database modules in 1996-97. Horizons Regional Council briefed a group of regional councils on its information technology (IT) strategy, which led others to express interest in joining the Consortium. A number of factors led the other Regional Councils to join, including that:
- it enabled them to upgrade their IT infrastructure;
- they have common statutory responsibilities, information needs, and business processes; and
- at the time, there were few software products available to meet the needs of Regional Councils.
The Consortium is designed to enhance the IT capability of the members through collaborative application development. This lowers software costs and facilitates the development and uptake of systems faster and more cheaply than if each local authority was doing so alone. A formal agreement exists between the Regional Councils and the Consortium. However, the Consortium has no legal form. It meets once a year, at the annual conference for Regional Council IT managers.
To gain entry to the Consortium, Regional Councils can either develop a module that is equal to the value of an entry price, pay the entry price, or combine the two to reach an equivalent value. The entry price is calculated primarily according to rates income, but also takes account of factors such as the number of staff, the number of PCs, and the level of Consortium investment to date.
Regional Councils in the Consortium create modules according to agreed, established development methodologies. Once a Regional Council has developed a module, it must make the module available to all members of the Consortium in return for a payment of 10% of the software development cost. Regional Councils may also share the costs of developing a common module.
* Horizons Regional Council is the trading name of the Manawatu-Wanganui Regional Council./