This'll end well!
Public sector organisation wants to save money so they bring in a company to deliver services as well as make a profit. It is this kind of thinking that gives both the public sector and IT a bad name, for the record, yes, I work in both.
The tender documents will be written by people too far removed from the coalface and signed off on both sides by bean counters with no idea what any of the words mean but are still impressed by claims of "industry leading products"- which translates as "other councils are already struggling with these and you'll be in the same mess in 6 months".
Then it'll start, the customisation, as council A has to fulfil a need that mega-joined-up-software-package called something functional yet dynamic like syngress currently doesn't fulfil so a contracting programmer will write a work package, this picture illustrates what happens next: http://zanematthew.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/project_management_swing.png
The next step is for the people who originally signed off this brave new world to either be replaced or get itchy feet over how much this whole thing is costing and pull the plug on the funding just as the project is nearing the critical phase. The good people working on the project start to get worried as they know which way this is heading, these are the people who have devoted the long hours to ensuring that stuff may actually work as well as it can do. They've faced the slings and arrows from both sides, made "the business" as well as the implementation team realise concessions need to be made on both sides and progress is almost being made towards delivering a usable product.
Then the migration starts, not migrating data from legacy systems to the new one, the migration of the talent. As funding quickly ebbs away the talent sees which way the wind is blowing and sensibly jump ship whilst their reputation is still intact, when "I'm currently delivering a £30 million project for council X and Y" still looks good on a CV as the snafu hasn't been revealed yet. Once the flight of the competents starts the project is officially doomed, no one on the techie side is left with an understanding of the work of the council or a commitment to make sure the product fits, the people who have been working between the techies and the councils to change processes and help the councils implement the new system aren't replaced so no one is left telling either side that the decision they have just made on that relatively tiny aspect of the system actually has far, far reaching consequences.
It is at this point that the project manager leaves, they have already become semi-detached from the project as they have had to shoulder the burden of other people's incompetence and are now in the cross hairs of everybody. They leap before they are pushed. They are not adequately replaced as we are almost at implementation and we need to save every penny, "besides, we're nearly there, we don't need a project manager now, we've only got to get through the implementation. Almost steady state."
And then we have the implementation, or to more accurately name it, the new systems are thrown over the wall to people like Betty, Brenda and Alan to not use properly as that 2 hour training course they went on 4 months ago has been forgotten, besides, due to the customisations and cost cutting that occurred in the final weeks "that bit has changed now." Then the load balancing testing is proven to be flawed as the systems grind to a halt, local staff revert back to doing things "the old way, cos it works, isn't that right Margaret? This new thing is crap."
With no funding for the implementation these "teething troubles" don't get resolved and the brave new world doesn't get realised, departments cherry pick which bits of the the new systems are used leading to a more fractured environment than was present before the project started. £millions are wasted and then the press can write their reports of white elephants and reports of waste and inefficiency at council A.
Meanwhile the people who make the shocking decisions that lead to the failure of the project are promoted, the project manager is assigned all the blame and the whispering campaign about their shortcomings gathers pace as the ass-covering phase starts.
The provider company departs with a truck load of cash and the public sector body is left with a system not fit for purpose, unable to fall back to their legacy systems, half the organisation has reverted to local systems and the rest are in some twilight halfway house.
Not fit for purpose solution underfunded, under-designed by know-nothing imbeciles is implemented badly, under resourced and fails to meet unrealistic demands. Daily Mail enjoys, IT is besmirched, again and service users suffer.