Abstracts: December 14th, 2005

This survey from the Society of IT Management confirms progress on e-government but highlights concerns about councils’ future commitment to ICT-facilitated transformation.The survey sheds light on the cost and the benefit of the e-government initiative. Councils have spent in excess of 13bn pounds on ICT over the past five years, an increase in resources of 2bn pounds. Almost half of the new money has come from Central Government the balance has been found from Council budgets. Spending on ICT systems, services and staff in 2005/6 has risen by 23% to 3.3bn pounds pa, but this spending is well below that of organisations that use ICT aggressively to deliver their business. This leads to a concern about local authorities’ commitment to transformation.

In terms of benefits it is clear that the local e-government programme is helping to deliver better council services throughout the UK, but take up is so far disappointing. This is attributed to poor marketing and possible resistance by customers to change their habits

According to the report, the number of ICT managers that play a significant role in the development of council services is increasing. However there are still many councils where the ICT manager does not have influence in key areas. A possibly linked issue is the considerable range of salary paid to the highest paid ICT professional in each council, with an overall a gap of 72,000 pounds between the lowest and highest. Even when the analysis is restricted to type of council, there is a differential of up to 40,000 pounds.

The report is critical about the under use of ICT to monitor and measure performance of the whole council. It argues that better value for money could be achieved if councils systematically measured and monitored the business value generated from the ICT investment.

The report is published on CD-ROM at 300 pounds and is available from <http://www.socitm.gov.uk/> or the Socitm Office on 01604 674800.