Headlines: February 17th, 2005

Since 2000 councils have spent some 2.5 billion pounds on eGovernment, but as yet there is little evidence of transformation in services. On the contrary, research by MORI shows a 10% decline in satisfaction with local authorities over the last three years. The Society of IT Management believes that eGovernment initiatives to date have been concerned too much with technology and too little with change, too much with improving access to services, and too little on back office efficiencies.The Society believes that the demands placed on councils by the Gershon Efficiency Review will force them to change their approach to eGovernment. Currently eGovernment is seen as a technology initiative in which the focus is on electronic service delivery and discrete projects, with limited potential savings or change. The new approach, which the Society describes as e2Government, will build the notions of efficiency and effectiveness. It will result in business transformation initiatives leading to potentially significant efficiency savings and major changes to public service operations. This will involve higher risks but higher rewards.

The Society argues that the potential for transformation will not be realised without strong leadership and management from the top of the organisation. Senior managers and chief executives need to understand the potential and limitations of ICT better than they do. At the same time, heads of ICT need to shed the role of supporting actor and take centre stage. For some heads of ICT taking on this role may require a shift of focus and attitude and the acquisition of new skills. Above all they will need to be driven by their organisation’s business needs to develop strategic solutions to service problems.