Feeds

Public sector ICT 'under pressure'

You don't say

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

The Society of IT Management has said that public sector ICT professionals are being squeezed between a cut in budgets and increased demand for their services.

Its annual report on IT trends shows that the financial resources available to local authorities' IT teams are forecast to fall by 11% in 2009-10, involving cuts of 20% in capital spending, 16% in departmental spending and 8% in central ICT spending.

This will be accompanied by a 10% reduction in staff numbers, the only bright spot being an increase in spending on communications.

IT Trends 2009-10: Stretched to Breaking Point is based in a survey of IT professionals in local government and other local public services, and makes use of data from 390 organisations.

It says that local public service providers are focusing on strategic transformational initiatives aimed at cutting costs. These include flexible working and rationalisation of accommodation, together with business process improvement and document management.

In addition, more effort is being put into driving self-service through websites, and there is some reinvestment in customer relationship management. But funding for these investments from external sources appears to be drying up, shared service initiatives have stalled and there is little appetite to borrow money to fund ICT.

As a result, overall capacity within the ICT function to deliver improvement has decreased since Socitm's IT Trends survey of a year ago, and ICT managers say their major challenge is being asked to do more with less. Funding rather than staff shortages appears to be the limiting factor.

The report forecasts a reduction in equipment purchases, an extension of the time that organisations make use of their assets, and that public authorities will become increasingly dependent on old technology. This could mean that many staff find themselves using older, lower specification equipment in the office than at home.

Organisations will either need to find more cash to support the ageing ICT infrastructure or find new lower-cost ways of delivering ICT service.

This situation is in sharp contract to last year's survey findings, when for 2008-09 ICT spending by local authorities was forecast to increase by 5%, and authorities were planning to spend over £3.2bn on ICT in 2008-09 - overtaking the record levels achieved in 2005.

The editor of the report, John Serle, commented: "We can see how much has changed. We believe that ICT should be an area of investment to get the efficiencies and better business processes in the rest of the organisation. Coping with the large cuts will be a tough one."

He added that significant investment is needed for the transformation that will deliver savings, but that "our respondents are suffering from the perennial pressures of funding cuts alongside increased demand and are under greater pressure than ever".

This article was originally published at Kable.

Kable's GC weekly is a free email newsletter covering the latest news and analysis of public sector technology. To register click here.

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
Britain's housing crisis: What are we going to do about it?
Rent control: Better than bombs at destroying housing
Top beak: UK privacy law may be reconsidered because of social media
Rise of Twitter etc creates 'enormous challenges'
GCHQ protesters stick it to British spooks ... by drinking urine
Activists told NOT to snap pics of staff at the concrete doughnut
What do you mean, I have to POST a PHYSICAL CHEQUE to get my gun licence?
Stop bitching about firearms fees - we need computerisation
Ex US cybersecurity czar guilty in child sex abuse website case
Health and Human Services IT security chief headed online to share vile images
We need less U.S. in our WWW – Euro digital chief Steelie Neelie
EC moves to shift status quo at Internet Governance Forum
Oz biz regulator discovers shared servers in EPIC FACEPALM
'Not aware' that one IP can hold more than one Website
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.