Software Solutions Approved by Hawke's Bay Council
2 November 2009
Hawke’s Bay Regional Council has approved a new finance management software application to replace an aged, 25 year old system.
The Council’s existing financial management software and computer equipment is over 25 years old and Hawke’s Bay Regional Council is the last council in New Zealand to be using it.
As a result the system is no longer supported and has no upgrades available and spare parts for the hardware are not readily available. This puts the Council at increasing risk of having no financial computer system available, should any element fail.
The Regional Council has approved the purchase of a Microsoft solution marketed by Intergen at a cost of $820,000 which includes hardware, software, implementation and training. The capital cost is $250,000 under that budgeted for in the Council’s Ten Year Plan, and the cost is considerably less than all the other solutions that were considered.
“Sitting and doing nothing is not an option and this is a modest cost for such a large upgrade,” said Chairman Alan Dick.
“Council staff have delayed as long as possible so they could thoroughly assess available systems and discuss with other Hawke’s Bay councils where shared systems might be feasible. But we cannot let ratepayers down by being in a high risk position of having no financial operating system at all.”
At the Council meeting on Wednesday (28 Oct) Councillors discussed the options for a system that would integrate well across the region, with or without any future amalgamation or sharing of services. Both Central HB District Council and Wairoa District Council are keen to look at opportunities of working closer with the Regional Council in the implementation of the new system. Napier and Hastings councils are operating different software systems, and have invested in these systems during the last 5-8 years. However the new system is able to be scaled, meaning that other councils could pick it up in the future if appropriate.
The Regional Council has proposed a phase-in of new computer operating systems - firstly for the core financial system upgraded this financial year, and secondly the property and rating systems upgrades in the next financial year (2010/11).
A third phase of the upgrade is proposed for 2011/12 which will improve the Council’s environmental monitoring capability. For this, the Regional Council will be actively pursuing consistency with systems operated at other regional councils across the country. The Council needs to introduce a computerised billing system to replace the current manual charging and accounting processes, to improve customer service efficiencies for resource consent holders. This may be brought forward depending on how quickly the new financial operating system is installed and is operational.