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Soctim president: Budget does not recognise importance of IT

The Budget does not go far enough in recognising the value of IT in cutting costs in the public sector, says the president of public sector IT managers group Socitm.

Jos Creese, who is also CIO at Hampshire County Council, said, "There was an opportunity for bold statements about the multiplier effect of IT investment, especially in the public sector." But he said George Osborne's speech had failed to live up to expectations.

If the Budget is to be successful, he said, both local and central government will need to rely heavily on technology to transform what they do and cut unit costs.

"If IT is seen as just a support service, then we will miss huge opportunities. Arguably, technology is the only 'silver bullet' in the armoury of the new government," said Creese.

The challenge for those working in government IT will be to exploit the opportunities created by the public sector network, cloud computing, shared services and other infrastructure developments.

Public sector reforms involving automation, self service and a more flexible workforce will not happen unless the importance of technology is acknowledged, Creese said.

He said the plans to abandon the broadband levy are sensible, but added, "They do not address the lack of access which exists in some areas, which will be a barrier to directly delivered modern public services. Indeed, the proposals appear to fall short of a commitment to achieving universal access - the words used are 'working towards' - and their economic feasibility lies untested."


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