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Socitm 'disappointed' over government IT plans

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The Society of IT Management has criticised the government's IT strategy for wanting to cut IT costs rather than deploy technology more effectively.

In a policy paper (pdf) responding to the government strategy published in January, Socitm argues that the government has failed to demonstrate wider opportunities for cutting costs or improving public services through ICT.

It expresses concern that a "significant proportion" of the savings proposed in the strategy depend on delivery mechanisms and technologies, such as the Public Sector Network, G Cloud and shared data centres, which are still being developed.

Socitm claims some areas could have been explored more fully. They include local public service delivery; data and information handling and information assurance for local public services; integration of the third sector in the strategy; IT infrastructures; opportunities from new, disruptive technologies; and incentives for implementing key parts of the strategy.

On data handling, Socitm proposes a stronger focus on developing common data and linked data standards across all government and third sector services.

"These areas will need to be addressed if the strategy is to be successfully implemented at a local level," said Martin Ferguson, Socitm's head of policy.

Ferguson said that in promoting the strategy at a local level, Socitm will emphasise the fact that too much focus on cutting ICT costs could prevent investment in technologies which could provide much larger savings. "Such savings will not, however, accrue to the ICT budget," he added.

However, the document reveals a more positive approach to some areas of the government's strategy. These include the open and collaborative approach to implementation of the strategy, and its support for the Public Sector Network as a "network of networks" which builds on existing national and local network infrastructure.

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.

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