Abstracts: February 11th, 2008

This report from the Society of IT Management describes the role that technology is playing in delivering greater efficiencies. The survey of more than 400 local councils revealed that business process re-engineering and partnership working are seen as the best improvement strategies, followed by switching to online services, with shared services in fourth place.

Although sharing services is being pushed hard by Whitehall, putting it into practice raises many practical difficulties. Getting people to use online services is also a main strand of the Government’s transformation strategy, but it is not valued so highly at local level. The survey shows that local councils are still not measuring or managing the use of online and other channels of contact, despite the fact that better channel management provides an obvious way to deliver better service at a lower cost

The report also reveals that managers and elected members are becoming more engaged with transformation. More than 20 percent of members are now involved in transformation compared to 14 per cent in 2006. Top management commitment has risen from 32 per cent in 2006 to 44 per cent in 2007. A conclusion drawn from this development is that ICT is beginning to be regarded as something worth investing in and not merely just a support service.

There has been a significant increase in ICT staff turnover with the annual figure rising from 14 per cent in 2006 to 23 per cent in 2007. The report concludes that public sector jobs are now looking less attractive.

The report, priced at 300 pounds, is available from SOCTIM. www.socitm.gov.uk