The introduction of e-Government may not bring real savings for the UK for another decade according to a new report from the public sector IT analyst, Kable. It has warned too that savings from new systems may never overtake the costs.The report, “e-Government Cost Savings”, estimates that by the financial year of 2005 to 2006, e-government will be generating savings for local and central government of 289 million pounds a year, but spending on e-government will be costing more than a billion pounds in that year alone. Karen Swinden, head of forecasting at Kable says that plotting investment in e-service provision against the likely rise in savings on an annual basis over the next few years shows that, savings may match costs only by 2012.
The study predicts that during the financial years between 2001 and 2006, e-government will cost British taxpayers a little under seven and half billion pounds. Spending is expected to peak in the current financial year at 1.8 billion.
In the report, Karen Swinden warns that it is possible that savings from e-government may never overtake its costs. Unlike private business, she says, the public sector cannot maximise the savings from digitisation by dramatically cutting physical access to services or staff numbers because it has a duty to ensure equal access to services for everybody, including those people who do not have their own means of digital access.