Headlines: April 10th, 2008

Advances in technology are putting pressure on voluntary and community organisations to adapt the ways in which they deliver services according to a report from the National Council for Voluntary Organisations and the ICT Hub. The fourth ICT Foresight, “How ICT is shaping the future design and delivery of public services”, says new technology means they will have to give greater consideration to issues such as data protection and privacy laws to safeguard people using their services.

The report also argues that charities which deliver public services will need a better understanding of the opportunities and benefits presented by ICT to meet their users’ expectations. These include the chance to engage with new audiences and to make cost savings. It highlights how online communities, databases and live video links can provide an increasing range of possibilities for Third Sector bodies to save costs and become more effective.

Megan Griffith, Research Manager, at NCVO Third Sector Foresight said there was a good fit between the opportunities provided by ICT and the values and delivery modes that characterised the sector. “ICT can be regarded as user-led and engaged, flexible and responsive. Even though ICT presents its challenges it is one of the most feasible routes to sustainability in service delivery,” she added.

The report says excessive sharing of information across the Internet means organisations need to understand data protection, privacy laws and the implications of not taking the steps needed to safeguard user information. It warns that in order to protect themselves from the consequences of unstructured ICT it is important that they enforce a strong ICT strategy.