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More senior local government decision makers believe IT should be used to improve service delivery, over cutting costs.

Three quarters of senior council staff polled say service delivery is being undermined by a lack of IT investment, according to research out today.

Of 108 senior local government decision makers sampled, 79 percent supported the use of technology and digital to improve the delivery of council services. Less than half – 48 percent – felt the focus of IT should be on cutting costs.

However, 77 percent of those responsible for delivering public services said a shortfall in IT investment is making it hard to do their job effectively.

The survey found that one in four local authorities have no strategic plan to deliver online services, despite the fact that the web has been citizens’ preferred channel for accessing council services for a number of years.

The research was commissioned by non-profit IT provider Eduserv, which has a number of public sector customers including Bristol City Council, the NHS, and Whitehall departments.

Eduserv’s local government director Andrew Hawkins said: “Whilst it is disappointing that so many councils feel their current services are being undermined by a lack of investment in IT, it’s encouraging that they recognise this and want to use IT to improve future service delivery.”

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He added: “The main priority should be on improving services for residents. Most councils seem to recognise this and now is the time for council leaders to deploy greater resources for an effective strategy to deliver the changes needed.”

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