The official who played a key role in overseeing the introduction of Birmingham City Council’s computerised invoice system, which resulted in a huge backlog of 30,000 unpaid bills, has been promoted to a top Government job.
Brendan Arnold, who is the council’s Director of Corporate Finance, will take on a similar role with the Department for Communities and Local Government in London later this year.
Mr Arnold was head-hunted by the council to help push through an ambitious business transformation programme, which seeks to save £800 million over 10 years largely through the more efficient use of IT systems.
He was asked to oversee installation last October of the Voyager programme to pay all of the local authority’s bills electronically.
But three months after going live, the council had to admit Voyager was not working properly. Some small firms were reduced to sending in bailiffs after bills went unpaid and council officials were reduced to writing cheques by hand.
All of the "teething problems" have been ironed out now, according to the local authority. However, websites used by council employees suggest that major glitches remain.
The next stage of Voyager gets underway on June 2, when managers have to start using the system to manage their budgets.
Mr Arnold’s imminent departure is being described by colleagues as a well-earned promotion.
Glyn Evans, the council’s Corporate Director of Business Change, said: "It has been a great pleasure working with Brendan as we take forward our ambitious business transformation agenda for the authority.
"He has done an excellent job and is taking on major role within central government, which is a tribute in itself to his efforts in Birmingham.
"It will be difficult to replace such a valued member of staff."