Issue - meetings

Strata IT Director's Report

Meeting: 26/09/2017 - Strata Joint Executive Committee (Item 32)

32 Strata IT Director's Report pdf icon PDF 980 KB

To consider the report of the Strata IT Director.


Additional documents:





that the report be noted.

Reason for Decision:


As set out in the report and presentation.



The Strata IT Director updated Members on the IT issues that caused the failure of the Global Desktop environment on the 13 and 15 September 2017. The root cause had been identified as a problem with the SAN (Storage Area Network) as three automated processes were happening simultaneously within the SAN (data progression, restriping and rebuilding of a disk) and the combination of these three processes dramatically impacted the overall performance of the Global Desktop environment.


The Strata IT Director advised that mitigation measures were being discussed and potentially being put into place including; engagement with Dell to discuss how the combination of processes impacted the SAN performance; SAN management training for Strata staff; ongoing SAN capacity management; Dell optimisation service; alerting mechanisms and manufacturer/reseller support contracts.


Presentation attached to minutes.


The Strata IT Director clarified that, during the SAN performance degradation issue, data was safe. It was also stated that the Secondary Data Centre at the Oakwood location enabled a maximum of 250 users across the three Councils to access the Global Desktop to connect to a number of core applications. Work was currently underway with the Business Continuity Managers across the three authorities to ascertain what additional ‘core’ applications were required in the event of a major incident. The Councils would have to decide how many users and what core applications it would require at the Secondary Data Centre locations as there were costs implications. Strata were investigating the additional costs of the back-up data Centre and also to potentially move the infrastructure into the ‘Cloud’.


Members acknowledged the failure did provide an opportunity for the Councils to test their Disaster Recovery Plans although they recognised the need for a joined up approach when communicating information that affected all three Council to the wider public.


The Leader of Exeter City Council raised concerns with regards to the communication to the politicians that was received from Strata at the time of failure.


The Strata IT Director commented that a lot had been learnt during the period of performance degradation and Strata would work with its suppliers to mitigate the risk moving forward. Strata would also review communication processes to be utilised in the event of a major incident. The Strata IT Director also stated that two of the three authorities had provided contact details for use by the Strata Service Desk in the event of a major incident occurring, and these details had been used to contact the named individuals.


Strata Joint Scrutiny Committee considered the report at its meeting on 6 September 2017 and its comments were reported.


RESOLVED that the report be noted.


Meeting: 06/09/2017 - Strata Joint Scrutiny Committee (Item 46)

46 Strata IT Director's Report pdf icon PDF 980 KB

To consider the report of the Strata IT Director.



The Strata IT Director presented the quarterly report on the functioning of the Strata organisation, the aim being to provide background to the core areas of specialisation within Strata and identifying key activities, successes and areas for improvement. The report included a SWOT analysis. He highlighted the following key areas:-


·         the Global Desktop Improvement Programme (GDIP) was in place to improve the overall end user experience of the Global Desktop environment with regular updates issued. Action plans had been drawn up to address issues experienced and Strata was working closely with technology partners;

·         in respect of Global Communications, the Strata Service Desk had been moved to the Anywhere365 solution to manage workload across the service desk which was giving better visibility of call patterns and had helped effective management;

·         the number of cyber threats identified by Strata remained high and effective protection of the three authorities IT environments was in place, the Strata Compliance and Security team continuing to manage on a daily basis phishing attacks. This was a significant challenge and had increased the workload in the team. Trends in attacks had been identified and there were excellent tools in place to add layers of protection;

·         the number of Business Change Requests (BCR’s) had reduced through pro-active monitoring and management and good progress was being made in reducing workload in a number of areas;

·         recruitment of new staff had proved effective enabling members of the Strata management to free up time to enable them to better manage their teams, and to be less operational. There were some 1,800 users and 67 Strata staff;

·         Strata was in a position to attract high quality staff with regular approaches from both individuals and from agencies interested in working for Strata, with the East Devon Human Resources team highly supportive. Two new team members had been recruited into the Business Systems discipline andthree new apprentices had commenced work on 5 September on a structured two-year apprenticeship programme. Exeter College delivered a programme of work experience, well received by both students and college staff. During a week in June, seven ‘IT’ students worked alongside Strata teams and the same exercise would be repeated in 2018;

·         it was noticeable that Strata was being successful in staff recruitment despite private sector competition as the overall Strata package which included pension rights and sick pay was an attraction;

·         monthly town meetings were held with all Strata staff;

·         a new Strata web site had been launched; and

·         the Multi-Function printer Devices had been launched across the three authorities, Ricoh having won the tender.


The IT Director’s report also included a table of project resources and capacity. It showed a drop in project utilisation (which had been over 70% for the majority of the last 15 months) would lead to more time available to work on BCRs. Ideally, Strata project utilisation would be at approximately 50% of available resource time. It was predicted that, by November 2017, project utilisation would be in the region of 55% of available  ...  view the full minutes text for item 46