Staff lack faith in IT, says survey

Frontline workers' views on IT developments in public services are being ignored while managers are uncertain about the benefits of IT, research by the Work Foundation think tank has revealed.

Frontline workers' views on IT developments in public services are being ignored while managers are uncertain about the benefits of IT, research by the Work Foundation think tank has revealed.

Only a third of public service workers feel they have been given the chance to express their views about the technology they use at work, although two-thirds believe IT has made their jobs easier, the survey of 500 staff from central and local government, education and the NHS found.

Just one in three of those surveyed said they trusted management decisions about IT, the report published this week said.

The research found that only a third of public sector managers agreed that IT should be an integral part of organisational changes, with fewer than four in 10 believing there were long-term benefits from investment in IT. Six out of 10 managers neither agreed nor disagreed about the benefits of IT.

"This demonstrates a high and worrying degree of uncertainty about the advantages or otherwise of IT," the report, How ICT? Managing at the Frontline, says.

It argues that the case for IT has "not yet been made", and that there is "far too much complacency among those fully engaged with these debates" about whether the benefits of IT for public services are clear to others.

"It is far less clear to those working in frontline services, the ones on whom effective implementation of ICT-enabled projects depends," the report warns.

"Too often there is a tendency to skip over the 'business case', diving straight into a detailed technology specification without clarity about objectives. This can result in a project that is on time, on budget and works, but that does not realise the hoped-for benefits," it adds.

A fourth and final report examining the role of ICT in improving the quality of public services is due in November.

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