SOCITM (Society of Information Technology Management)
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Socitm publishes briefing on the Government ICT Strategy
Government ICT Strategy’s focus on reducing technology costs is disappointing says Socitm: much higher savings are achievable through better ICT deployment.
The over-riding emphasis on reducing the cost of government ICT, a key plank of the Government ICT Strategy released in January, is disappointing, says Socitm, the professional association for public sector ICT.
A better focus for the Strategy would have been on the much greater potential to cut government’s costs through effective deployment of ICT in the delivery of public services.
In its policy briefing on the Strategy, Socitm argues that, while reducing unnecessary ICT cost is critical in the current financial climate, the Strategy fails to discuss or demonstrate the wider opportunity for reducing cost and improving all public services through the application of ICT. Consequently, it remains unclear how a focus on just cutting technology costs would deliver the Strategy’s stated aim of “improving the living of the citizens and businesses”.
Despite this, Socitm believes there is much to applaud in the Strategy, and welcomes:
•the role spelt out for the wider public sector, the third sector and local government;
•the continued focus on transformation of public services;
•the open and collaborative approach to implementation of the strategy, embracing the Local CIO Council and the Local Government Delivery Council;
•support for the Public Sector Network as a “network of networks” that builds on existing national and local network infrastructures; and
•the continued emphasis on professionalism, portfolio and programme management, the greening of government ICT and supplier management.
The policy briefing identifies and describes a series of areas that Socitm would like to have seen considered more fully in the Strategy. These include:
•the vision for local public service delivery
•data and information handling
•integration of the third sector in the strategy
•opportunities from new, disruptive technologies
•incentives for early adopters
‘These areas will need to be addressed if the Strategy is to be successfully implemented at a local level’ says Martin Ferguson, Socitm Head of Policy. ‘ I should stress that we are coming at this from the perspective of a ‘critical friend’ and remain committed to working with the Cabinet Office, central and local government bodies, the third sector, and suppliers, to facilitate and enable implementation of the Strategy. In promoting the Strategy locally, however, we will emphasise the fact that too much focus on cutting ICT costs could prevent investment in technologies that would enable savings dwarfing anything that could be achieved by cutting ICT costs alone. Such savings will not, however, accrue to the ICT budget’
Copies of the briefing can be downloaded from http://www.socitm.net/downloads/download/267/a_socitm_policy_briefing_the_government_ict_strategy_smarter_cheaper_greener