LICHFIELD District Council has announced the opening of a new visitor attraction in the City, the new museum and heritage site will be operated by the Bletchley Park Trust and the income generated will help to fund the crisis-ridden Council’s IT upgrade.
The floundering local council’s IT department is in turmoil. In less than eight weeks time Microsoft ends its support for the Council’s neglected and now defunct Windows XP operating system and Office 1903 software which forms the platform for all of the Council’s antiquated computer systems.
Lichfield Council will be disconnected from the Central Government computer networks in September 2014 unless it can convince the Cabinet Office that it’s IT infrastructure has been adequately upgraded.
Kelsey Griffin, Director of Operations and Communication for The Bletchley Park Trust commented:
‘This has been a real find for us, a Staffordshire Hoard for the computer age. When we heard about the appalling mess that the Council has allowed it’s IT department to get into we arranged a visit straight away.’
Originally formed to develop a museum, heritage site and education centre at Bletchley Park in order to preserve the contribution to computing, electronic security and intelligence in World War Two, the Bletchley Park Trust has expanded its remit and turned its sights on the Lichfield District Council’s pre-historically significant IT department.
Ms Griffin added:
‘Imagine our delight to find council workers still using equipment from the dawn of the electronic computing era. A couple of officers in the planning department were still making the best of their Sinclair ZX Spectrums and a lady in Accounts said that she didn’t think she could cope if they ever took away her abacus. The City Engineer proudly gave me a demonstration of his slide rule.
‘Council staff are allowed to use Council computers during their lunchtime for personal use. Who’d have thought that you could find a set of workers in modern times still enjoying Space Invaders, Pac Man and that tennis game with the slidy bats and bouncing ball with the bop-bop-bop noise.’
Councillor Iain Eadie , Cabinet Member for IT, Waste Management and Face Buffing, said:
‘It’s not my fault. IT was previously the responsibility of the Cabinet Member for Finance, Democratic and Legal Services. I welcome my appointment but clearly it’s no coincidence that I’m also responsible for Waste Management.’
Councillor Christopher Spruce, 99 year-old Cabinet Member for Finance, Democratic,Legal Services and Regally Dressed Ex-Mayors said:
‘Its not my fault, I don’t even know how to switch on the TV let alone a computer and I was completely confused when my manservant upgraded what I thought was a desklamp into a fully functional dumb terminal.’
Council Leader Mike Wilcox commented:
‘To me, to you.
‘Fortunately I bailed out of operational responsibility for absolutely everything just in time. But I welcome the intervention of Bletchley Park Trust who are best placed to optimise the use of our cherished equipment and provide the Council with valuable income to facilitate our IT systems upgrade to bring the City into the latter part of the 20th Century. The new visitor centre will be based in the Council’s IT Server Room F451 as soon as improvements have been made to the building to conform with fire regulations.
‘Unfortunately this has meant that the planned development of Virtual Friarsgate has been postponed, but I expect that it will be delivered on time and on budget in 2015.
To me, to you.’
Many council employees will be taken on by the Trust as tour guides, whilst the three full time IT employees, having been made aware that IT consultants in the private sector charge up to £3k per eight hour day, have resigned and become self-employed.
Anyone interested in exploiting the Lichfield District Council IT network architecture vulnerabilities pre-changeover can download a handy guide at http://www.lichfielddc.gov.uk/download/meetings/id/5832/item_6_ict_looking_to_the_future