Users ‘being forgotten’ in digital transformation

Only 12% of public sector bodies are actively involving citizens in the design of digital services, according to new research.

A survey by business advisory firm Deloitte said that the public sector lacks skills funding and culture to successfully deliver digital services.

Although 86% of respondents across central and local public sector bodies say such transformation is essential, only half say they have the ability to capture citizen’s views and preferences, with even fewer using them.

Joel Bellman, public sector digital partner at Deloitte, said: “Citizens are accustomed to excellent digital services in other areas of their lives and do not accept that Government is immune from this.

“Our survey finds a disconnect between those designing digital public service and those that will use them.”

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89% of respondents said their organisation is pursuing digital services to cut costs but just 32% say that funding for the shift to digital within their organisations has increased and only 28% have the right level of resources available to bring in expertise.

Only a quarter of respondents said their organisation has sufficient skills within the organisation to execute their digital plans with just a third saying their organisation’s leaders have the right level of digital skills.

Overall, just one-third have confidence that their organisation is well-placed to respond to digital trends.

In addition 83% say that procurement rules hinder their ability to source digital services, despite 74% saying that they rely on outsourced expertise.

Bellman said: “The technology is there for the public sector to take advantage, yet they lack the culture, skills, governance and leadership to do so.

“The public sector needs to ramp up its digital skills, just one quarter saying they have the right skills in place is not a good omen.

“Funding is clearly going to be difficult in an age of austerity but digital is a route to long term savings.”

Colin Marrs

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