Headlines: October 28th, 2013

Four out of ten councils have not saved money from using digital tools and technologies despite potential efficiencies of up to £12 million each being available.

Local Government Minister Brandon Lewis criticized those councils that have failed to make savings. Councils which have delivered digital savings have reduced their spending by an average of £1 million and the minister urged all local authorities to take advantage. He said: It is troubling that 40 per cent of councils are yet to drive efficiencies from this opportunity and I would urge these councils to reach out, learn from the best, and accelerate their digital programmes.

The lack of progress by some councils in going digital is revealed in a new report Local digital today from UKAuthority on how councils are adapting to new technology. UK Authority is a joint venture between the Department for Communities and Local Government; the Local Government Association; and the Society of Information Technology Management.

Its survey of local authorities also found that 91 per cent believe that digital will help provide services at lower cost, while 84 per cent feel that online and mobile applications can improve the quality of their interactions with the public.

Chief Information Officer at Hampshire County Council and chairman of the Local CIO Council Jos Creese said: There is still surprisingly little data and evidence about the power of ‘digital’ to modernise the public sector. We all know that ‘channel shift’ to web transactions saves money, but it’s not enough.

Much more evidence exists in the private sector where digital leaders are shown to outperform their peers in every industry. Yet the public sector now depends on a shift to digital delivery wherever possible to drive out cost while protecting services.
This survey is therefore very helpful in aligning technology opportunity with business benefits in the public sector – productivity, efficiency, improved customer service and new service design. It demonstrates why ‘local’ matters and that it’s all about technology use, not just innovative technology.”