Headlines: November 27th, 2009

The Society of IT Management wants public bodies to recognize that separate ICT infrastructures are not needed for every organisation. It is particularly critical of the 433 local councils in the UK where there has been a marked lack of enthusiasm for sharing services.

The Society, in its policy briefing paper ‘ICT, resourcing and transformation – doing more, better, with less’, calls on councils to take collective action on shared services, rather than, as is the case now, leaving it to managers with foresight who are acting individually.

There are examples of councils and other public bodies sharing services for back office operations including finance, HR, estates management, procurement, legal services, travel services and marketing and communications. But if shared services were widely adopted the efficiency savings across government would amount to some £4 billion according to HM Treasury’s Operation Efficiency Programme.

The Society also calls for a shift in the make up of operational service budgets between day to day operations and change activity. It estimates that currently 90 per cent of budgets are spent on day to day operations and only 10 per cent on change activity. It believes this should change to a 60:40 per cent split.

The Briefing highlights the danger facing local public service organisations in the current budget crisis. It calls for new and radical ways of managing and resourcing transformation and ICT , rather than responding with traditional across-the-board cuts.