West Sussex: £26m approved to update council computer system

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Funding of up to £26m has been approved to update West Sussex County Council’s business management system.

The current system – which has been described as ‘obsolete and clunky’ – is used in areas such as paying staff and suppliers, debt recovery, income collection, accounting, HR administration and buying goods and services.

The system has been modified almost continuously for the last 20 years and will be replaced with the more intuitive Oracle Fusion.

Steve Waight, cabinet member for support services & economic development, approved the funding on Monday (May 13), which will be made up of £5m of reserves with the rest coming from capital receipts.

It will be spread between 2024/25 to 2027/28 and includes £4m to cover any unforeseen costs later down the line.

The project has been in the pipeline since November 2019, when a budget of £2.6m was approved.

That was revised to £7m in August 2021 and to £14m in September 2022.

Speaking at a meeting of the cabinet in April, Mr Waight said: “There’s no getting away from the reality that when the project was started in 2019, the complexity and the work was under-estimated.

“Having got off on that wrong foot, so to speak, it’s been a while longer than we would have liked to actually get to where we are now.”

Different elements of the Oracle system are planned to go live in December 2025 and April 2026.

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