Headlines: January 14th, 2004

Public services are increasingly turning to private companies for information technology support. A survey by the Telewest / Economist Intelligence Unit on business attitudes towards Information and Communication Technology found that 16% of public sector organisations spent 25-50% of their Information and Communications Technology (ICT) budget on managed services in 2003. This compares to 11% in the private sector. The findings show that IT administrators and procurement departments across the public sector are beginning to overcome initial doubts and are moving to embrace new business practices.Christopher Small, public sector director at Telewest Business, said: ” We’ve noticed a definite change in attitudes within the public sector over the past year, and it seems that organisations have realised the time and, ultimately, cost savings afforded by outsourcing ICT projects. New managed technology services such as Broadband are becoming a viable option for public sector organisations to connect small sites and remote working. For individuals who work from home the technology encourages a greater work/life balance.”

The survey also found that 24% of public sector respondents expect to increase their overall ICT expenditure by 10-25% in the next year, whilst 22% were planning to increase spending by up to 10%. 30% expected to sustain the same level of investment in 2004.

Lowering costs and maximising efficiencies is a strategic priority for 61% of respondents for the next 12 months in both the public and private sectors. Crucially, 96% believe ICT is either important or critical to achieving this goal.