Socitm reiterates call for move to shared services

Socitm has reiterated its call for greater collaboration between local authorities in an attempt to get public sector IT heads to improve services and cut costs.

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Socitm has reiterated its call for greater collaboration between local authorities in an attempt to get public sector IT heads to improve services and cut costs.

Joined-up services between health, education and civil society organisations will be key to deriving more value from IT and reducing overheads, according to a report from the body for public sector IT professionals.

The strategy focuses more on organisational change than technology, says the Planting the Flag report. "Where it does focus on technology, this is around how to extract value from IT and banish unhelpful, technology-led cultures and practices that all too frequently have accompanied IT procurement, deployment and management in parts of the public sector.

"Successive governments have mistakenly assumed that 'one size fits all' for local public services, and this has led to rigid, large-scale technology-led programmes driven from Whitehall that have struggled to deliver value," it added.

Socitm has set out three core areas to reform public sector IT: collaboration and re-use of assets; a simplified service delivery model; and the adoption of innovative practices aimed at empowering users of the services.

According to the report, six key issues also needed to be addressed. These include creating "a single version of the truth" about people, assets and finance made available to personnel; a need for managers to better recognise the importance of information; designing systems to assume digital access "by default" for citizens and employees; converging IT services; systematic organisational change; and common information assurance approaches from central government.

But earlier in the year, Jos Creese, former head of Socitm, warned against a hasty move to shared services, which he said could lead to greater inflexibility.

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