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Flying the flag for ICT enabled public services

Tuesday May 31st, 2011

By Terry Street, Principal Consultant and Procurement and Outsourcing Product Manager, Socitm Consulting

At its spring conference on 11 May at the Royal College of Surgeons, the Society of Information Technology Management (Socitm) launched what is seen as a first in the UK in terms of a national initiative for local government ICT linked to the central government ICT strategy and based on collaboration across the public sector.

The launch of ‘Planting the Flag’, with its emphasis on the role that ICT can play in public service reform, is something that everyone who is involved in public service delivery – local or central government, private or third sector – should engage with as it’s taken forward. The initiative was announced by Jos Creese, the outgoing President, and will be taken up by the newly elected President, Glyn Evans.

The document contains what is described as the Routemap for Local Public Services Reform – enabled by ICT, setting out future directions so that organisations can build towards the future vision of ICT-enabled public services.

The announcement was preceded by Chris Chant, who put the strategy in the context of the Government’s adoption of a ‘digital by default’ approach pulling all government websites into a single customer-focused solution.

In an article in Socitm News, Jos explained the significance of the Routemap: “We have never actually had a strategy for IT-enabled local public services, let alone one conceived for a citizen-driven public sector. That is where we are heading with this Routemap.”

Jos went on to explain: The aim of the Routemap is to translate the Government’s new ICT Strategy into practical actions by local CIOs to support public service reform and redesign in their areas. Socitm, with the Local CIO Council, has led this work through its Futures Group. Socitm members were among a number of bodies formally invited to comment and contribute, including LG Group, other professional associations, government departments, suppliers, agencies and charities.”

The ‘fit’ with the Government ICT Strategy is being addressed through close working with Bill McCluggage, Deputy Government CIO and Chris Chant, Director of Digital Delivery in the Cabinet Office.

One question in my mind is what the impact will be on public sector ICT procurement.

These are the themes emerging so far:

  • Greater need for flexibility to change solutions to take advantages of collaboration and shared regional and national solutions – Socitm has already issued a note of caution regarding outsourcing ICT, and the risks of being ‘locked-in’.
  • Potentially more use of sharing solutions – Chris Chant spoke of central government offering to host local authority websites within its own solution.
  • More use of frameworks that provide access to pre-awarded solutions – the OGC local government software package framework being a typical example.
  • Collaborative procurement at a local level – almost all procurements we are involved in include a facility for call-off by other organisations.

What do you think the implications are? If you would like to discuss this or other ICT procurement issues, contact me on 0845 450 2317 or at [email protected]

Related links

Detailed version of ‘Planting the Flag’ released by Socitm

Socitm publishes strategy for ICT-enabled local public services reform

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