Capita: Too many councils haven't got a clue about IT benefits

Technology is said to be playing a key role in the "transformation of local government", but many councils have no real detailed knowledge about the way it is doing it, according to outsourcer Capita.

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Technology is said to be playing a key role in the "transformation of local government", but many councils have no real detailed knowledge about the way it is doing it, according to outsourcer Capita.

According to Capita IT Services research, more than 80 percent of councils are implementing an IT strategy to help meet budget challenges and demand for public services.

A Capita survey of more than 100 council officials, representing 96 local government bodies from across the UK, suggests that while the importance of IT "is widely accepted", detailed knowledge of IT and appreciation of the benefits of specific initiatives "may be lacking".

A third of respondents said that knowledge levels of the benefits of IT and technology are either "lacking" or "severely lacking" among officials in their organisation. The figure rises to 61 percent among elected officials.

Respondents were also asked to indicate what the Public Services Network (PSN) and G-Cloud mean to them. While the two most frequently selected options were transforming operational capabilities and achieving cost savings, almost a third (31 percent) said that they do not know what they are.

Peter Hands, executive director at Capita IT Services, said: "It is encouraging that more than three quarters of councils are implementing an IT strategy to help manage costs and meet changing demands.

"However it is clear that many council officials, particularly elected members, would benefit from a fuller understanding of how IT can transform public services."

He said: "There are many IT initiatives available as well as major procurement frameworks that can help local government realise their objectives and potential."

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