Headlines: October 17th, 2007

IT managers say the Treasury’s Service Transformation Agreement will breathe new life into the Government’s ICT-facilitated transformational government programme. The Society of IT Management – Socitm – says the requirement in the agreement to reduce ‘avoidable contact’ with citizens will focus attention on government initiatives.

The agreement has been published following the Spending review and forms part of the Government’s new performance framework for building services around citizens. It sets targets for local government and all government departments to halve ‘avoidable contact’ with the public withion the next four years.

Under the Transformation Agreement councils will be have to step up their efforts to end unnecessary and replicated contact with local people and businesses and they will have to streamline cumbersome and complicated processes, which the Agreement claims are ‘as frustrating and costly for government as they are for staff and the customer’. Local authorities will be expected to report quarterly on progress from a baseline that will be established by April next year. Data on the number of contacts needed before customers complete key services will be collected through the local government National Indicator Set. A Local Government Delivery Council is also being set up to be responsible for leadership on service transformation.

Rose Crozier, the President of Socitm said they welcomed the fact that the Agreement recognized the role of local government. “We are delighted that local government has been named as the lead on transformation for face-to-face services, and we welcome the establishment of the Local Government Delivery Council. Socitm is seeking a meeting with the LGDC at an early stage to work out how it can best support delivery of the STA within local government.”

Socitm is now to develop activities to help councils get to grips with what will be required as a result of the Agreement, particularly in terms of measuring and then reducing avoidable contact.