The potential benefits to be gained from an effective IT strategy are not well undertotod by many council officials and particularly by councillors.
A survey by Capita IT Services of more than 100 council officials, representing 96 local government bodies from across the UK, found that while the importance of IT is widely accepted in local government, detailed knowledge of IT and appreciation of the benefits of specific initiatives may be lacking.
A third of respondents said that knowledge levels of the benefits of IT and technology are either lacking or severely lacking among officials in their organisation. The figure rises to 61% among elected officials.
Respondents were also asked to indicate what the Public Services Network (PSN) and G-Cloud mean to them. While the two most frequently selected options were transforming operational capabilities and achieving cost savings, almost a third (31%) said that they do not know what they are.
Peter Hands, executive director at Capita IT Services, said: ‘It is encouraging that more than three quarters of councils are implementing an IT strategy to help manage costs and meet changing demands. The survey results are supported by the work we are doing with local authorities, helping them to realise transformation by improving service delivery in a reduced budget environment.
‘However it is clear that many council officials, particularly elected members, would benefit from a fuller understanding of how IT can transform public services. There are many IT initiatives available as well as major procurement frameworks that can help local government realise their objectives and potential.’
The full report – ‘The role of technology in local government transformation’ – can be downloaded from the Capita website.