Headlines: March 17th, 2011

Despite the pledge in the Comprehensive Spending Review to protect front-line services, a survey has revealed that the budget cuts are affecting significant areas of the front line.

A survey of senior finance officers commissioned by VMware revealed that more than 61 per cent had reduced budgets with an impact on front-line services. It also reveals that the public sector is struggling to make the budget reductions with more than two thirds of those surveyed saying the cuts will be difficult to achieve within the three year timescale.

The survey also showed that more than half of public sector organisations having to make cuts in their IT budgets have not yet started on the task. With senior finance bosses responding that they have only implemented less than 9% on average of the planned cuts to IT spend so far, the public sector still has to trim £2.6bn from its overall IT spending over the next three years.

A striking element of the study is a strong belief among public sector bosses that IT is of strategic importance, not only for achieving the cuts but for providing the foundation for organisational change. Despite public sector IT often being associated with well-publicised IT failures, the majority of respondents now believe IT is integral to cost cutting efforts, 73 per cent, possesses the ability to transform the ways in which organisations operate, 91 per cent and delivers the organisation value, 87 per cent. The overwhelming majority, and 83 per cent, of public sector bosses believe IT to be essential to the delivering of shared services.