Report: ‘Digital skills lag technological innovation’

Local authorities need to invest more in skills to maximise their investment in digital technology, according to new research.

A report launched today by supplier BT found that 75% of councils have embraced technology to transform their services.

But only 25% said that investment in people was currently a high priority for their organisation. It also identified significant gaps between the skills that public sector organisations need and those that they possess to deliver digital transformation.

It said: “For example, 41% of those surveyed felt that IT literacy for all staff was very important, but only 7% strongly agreed that the skills currently existed at a sufficient level in their organisation.

“Similarly, 87%of respondents recognised a culture of innovation as important. Yet surprisingly, almost half (49%) felt that they did not have such a culture within their organisation.”

The white paper, Public Services: Delivering the Next Generation of Change, asked almost 400 local government officials how technology, skills and collaboration could be used to power public services successfully.

Respondents identified collaboration (94%) and mobile working (86%) as key for improving the delivery of public services in the future, areas which BT said would require high levels of IT literacy and innovation to ensure efficient implementation.

Ian Dalton, president of global government and health at BT Global Services, said: “It is clear from this research that public sector investment should be balanced across both technology and people, particularly investing in skills such as IT literacy.

“Many digital inclusion and IT skills training programmes exist, but focus on citizens, not on the development of employees.

“Improving these areas will help ensure organisations have the abilities required to work efficiently with new technology and continue to improve and streamline the delivery of public services.”

The research was produced on behalf of BT by Dods Research, part of Dods Group, publisher of

Colin Marrs

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