IT Trends 2008/9: Uncharted waters
Produced by: Socitm Insight
The consequences of the financial down-turn have not yet become clear. We predict that through 2009 the pressures on public services will become severe.
Our latest IT Trends report (22nd annual edition, and the first by Socitm Insight) steps into these uncharted waters with advice about the need for a twin track approach of ICT cost optimisation matched by carefully targeted investment in ICT-enabled change.
The preparation of our annual survey has been overshadowed in the later stages by the unfolding global financial crisis, which will have a major impact on the investment and use of ICT in the local public sector. It will be tempting to cut down on ICT expenditure, yet only through investment in technology will local public services be able to make the efficiency gains required elsewhere. As they have already been through the efficiency process twice in the past four years, the easier pickings will already have been taken.
The consequences of the financial down-turn have not yet become clear. We predict that through 2009 the pressures on public services will become severe. Local public service providers will have to gear up to deal with:
- an increase in the number of homeless people
- support for the jobless
- family and breakdown and social tension
- widening the safety-net for the old and disadvantaged
- failures in critical services such as education and social care.
We cannot say how the Government will respond to these issues. We suggest that all ICT units of local public service providers should produce two plans. The first should be based on a cost containment strategy; the second on an expansion of service and investment for a lower cost future.
Our research has identified examples of current good practice. We believe that every organisation in the sector could realise savings and efficiencies by following these examples. We also believe that the next two years may prove to be a watershed in the way organisations manage and deploy ICT.
About our survey
Socitm has undertaken a survey into the application of information and communications technology in local government since1987. The survey now in its 22nd year is based on a comprehensive questionnaire sent out in May to the heads of ICT of every local authority and other local public service provider in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. The responses provide a wealth of factual information, particularly relating to the scale and nature of the ICT resources used by authorities, including expenditure, staffing levels and technologies. Subjective information such as views on government initiatives affecting local public services or predictions of future trends is also included.
The aims of the survey are to:
- help organisations providing local public services plan and manage their ICT services
- influence legislation and central funding of ICT in the local public sector
- facilitate information sharing
Essential reading for all ICT managers in local public services, the 2008 package comprises a CD-ROM (two versions) with the 84 page report, plus three copies of the 8 page printed executive briefing. One version just contains the report; the other version contains the report plus a full set of the supporting survey data (anonymised).
We would like to thank all Socitm members who completed the main survey. They are entitled to a free copy of the 2008/9 package (report-only version), whether or not they subscribe to Socitm Insight .
The charge for all other organisations is:
- £295 for Insight subscribers
- £495 for non- Insight subscribers
Report plus data version
- £395 for Insight subscribers
- £595 for non- Insight subscribers
Three copies of this printed executive summary are provided with every package.We strongly advise organisations that do not subscribe to consider a subscription to Socitm Insight, because for only a modest extra investment they receive so much more. For example, a Band 1 public sector organisation (less than £30m gross expenditure) or private sector company (less than 10 employees) will pay a 2009 subscription of £670 plus just £295 for IT Trends (£965 in total) for which they receive not just IT Trends, but another 12 or so publications in 2009.
Last modified: 3rd February 2010
IT Trends 2008/9: Uncharted waters (248.78 KB PDF)