Councils with high scores in the Comprehensive Performance Assessment invariably demonstrate a clear commitment to information and communications technology. The Society of Information Technology Managers in local government has compared the CPA results with its own surveys and found a clear correlation between the two sets of data. Its findings are published in the report ‘Making a Difference’.SOCTIM found that councils with an above par ICT service are more likely to have an excellent or good CPA result. Councils with an ICT service below par have a 50% chance of a weak or poor assessment and are unlikely to have an excellent or good result. Top performing councils spend between 21 and 32% more on ICT than the poorer performers. They also score highly in the SOCTIM user satisfaction surveys. Councils with top rated websites are twice as likely to have an excellent CPA result.
SOCITM is critical of the Audit Commission who recently published ‘Patterns of Assessment’ which set out the critical success factors of the better performing councils. These included political leadership that focuses on change and continuous improvement, strong community leadership and clear frameworks for managing performance that support council priorities. ICT did not feature as critical to good performance. The SOCTIM report acknowledges that it is not possible to say if good ICT services depend on a well managed council or if a well managed council depends on good ICT services.