Buckinghamshire appoints first joint ICT director across the County Council and NHS
A future with fully integrated local authority services and healthcare provision has come a step closer with the creation of the country’s first ICT Director with responsibility across a county council, NHS trust and clinical commissioning group.
Balvinder Heran has been appointed as the Joint Strategic Director of Information Assets and Digital Development by Buckinghamshire County Council (BCC), Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust (BHT) and NHS Buckinghamshire Clinical Commissioning Group.
Ms Heran, currently director of ICT at the London Borough of Hounslow and a pioneer of shared services, will be accountable for the combined ICT strategy of all three organisations.
The county, which was awarded pilot status for one of eight Integrated Care Systems in the country, is the first of the pilot areas to create such a role.
Such was the unique nature of the job that it was a long process to whittle down 230 applicants to a long list for technical interviews and then a shortlist of four for final interviews.
The interviewing panellists, from across the County Council, NHS trust and CCG, were impressed with Ms Heran’s passion for developing customer-focused ICT and online services, and her previous experience of negotiating and implementing shared IT services.
Her job will be to define the strategic direction and business priorities for the development of technology across the whole Buckinghamshire Integrated Care System.
She will lead the overall system strategy, ensuring that digitally driven solutions and services are fully supported by the right architectures and systems and that dependence on existing legacy systems and contracts are dramatically reduced.
John Chilver, Buckinghamshire County Council Cabinet Member for Resources, said: “Ms Heran shares our passion for digital inclusion and customer-focused ICT and her track-record of designing, negotiating and delivering shared computer services makes her a great fit for the digital transformation we hope to achieve.”
James Drury, Director of Finance at Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust: “This new partnership role will help engender closer collaboration between the Trust, Buckinghamshire CCG and Buckinghamshire County Council so together we can move closer towards realising the benefits of digitalisation within the Buckinghamshire Integrated Care System.”
Robert Majilton, Deputy Chief Officer for NHS Buckinghamshire Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “This new position will be a great benefit to Buckinghamshire CCG and its partner organisations and will put us in an even stronger position to deliver on the potential of an Integrated Care System.
“It will help us to adopt a truly coherent strategy across the health and care system, making the most of our ability to share information to improve health outcomes for residents and allowing all partners within the Buckinghamshire ICS to operate more efficiently.”
Prior to her most recent role in the large and diverse borough of Hounslow, Ms Heran was the Joint Strategic Lead for shared working across four non-geographically aligned local authorities (Stratford-on-Avon, South Northamptonshire, Cherwell and South Staffordshire).
She delivered a four-way ICT Business Development Service built on a model of one lead delivery partner and three commissioning councils.
At Stratford-on-Avon she had earlier led the ICT project which earned the council national Beacon status for digital inclusion and community involvement.
Ms Heran, who says she chooses to work in the public sector in order to improve outcomes for residents and businesses, is also a Non-Executive Director of Bromford Housing Group and a member of the joint steering group for overseeing a merger with Merlin House Groups and Severn Vale Housing.
As a volunteer she says she enjoys working with communities and ‘hard to reach’ groups and she led the delivery of the Diwali light festival in Leamington Spa in response to growing community demand.
Ms Heran said she is looking forward to her new job, 'building new partnerships to create a lasting vision where ICT and digital transformation across Bucks is recognised as adding real value to the customer experience and high quality, value for money public services are delivered regardless of organisational boundaries.'
Ms Heran is expected to start her role in September.