Headlines: November 1st, 2001

Central government departments emerge as the big spenders in the National Computing Centre’s Survey of IT Spend 2001. Departments’ spend per end user is 4,444 pounds compared to the overall average of public and private sectors of 3,022 pounds. Local Government’s total combined IT spend is 2,203 pounds and the health service emerges as the Cinderella with 1325 pounds per end user. These figures contrast with the Finance sector which spends 13,685.This disparity in spend between different parts of the public sector carries through to capital spend. While central departments spend 1,333 pounds per end user, local government only spends 463 pounds.

The survey showed that Local and Central Government and larger organizations generally did best at using methods to demonstrate value for money.

Nearly half of respondents believed that the pace of technology adoption is too slow and the survey showed a divergence between the rate of actual adoption of IT, and the rate perceived as appropriate by respondents. While the IT sector pursues an energetic rate of IT adoption, local and central government take a more conservative approach.

The National Computing Centre expresses the view that local and central government must accelerate the rate of take-up of IT if e-government targets are to be achieved. It also notes that the health service is badly served by its low expenditure and low number of IT staff per end user.