Headlines: June 9th, 2003

Staff training in ICT is not being dealt with by councils as a strategic issue, neither is there a strategic lead promoting training and there is little support from the top. Where there is training, it usually starts because it is thought to be ‘ a good idea’. These are key findings from a report published by the Society of IT Managers in Local Government, supported by the Improvement and Development Agency and the British Computer Society.Over half the people in local government who use ICT spend over half their working week using it and they see it as critical to their job. Despite the vital part that ICT is playing in local government today more than 50% of staff received no training in its use in the last year. The skills gap in e-government is well recognized with 69% of councils acknowledging a gap with officers and 51% a gap with council members.

The purpose of the research was to assess progress on the take-up of the European Computer Driving Licence which is the first pan-European Union qualification in personal computing skills. Originating in Scandinavia and launched in the UK in 1998, it is designed specifically for those who wish to gain a basic qualification in computing to help them with their current job, to help them grow their skills and enhance career prospects.

Martin Greenwood, Programme Manager of Socitm Insight said: ” While e-government has put technology at the heart of almost every facet of local authority work, we know from Socitm’s regular surveys that ICT users in local government find the training they receive to be inadequate. This attitude contrasts with, for example, the firm ambition of the government in Italy to have the whole of its public sector workforce (over 2 million employees) ECDL qualified by the end of 2007″.