Local government IT getting more diverse as pressures increase

The fast moving IT market is increasing pressure on local authorities to take a more diverse approach to service transformation, according to a recently published Socitm report.

The ‘Shifting Sands: New Structures and Delivery Models’ report found that the  in-house ICT model is fast becoming outdated, and local authorities are moving to using semi- or fully independent outsourcing companies.

It pointed to examples such as the use of Delt Shared Services Ltd by Plymouth City Council and the Devon Clinical Commissioning Group while Durham County Council has set up and uses its own ICT services business.

The report said that local ICT functions and the services they provide are becoming ‘platforms’ upon which “place-based thinking and local services are developed”.

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“As central government devolution and health and social care policies play out, the intended role of local government is changing, with a growing emphasis on joining up organisations and the data/information they hold across localities,” the report said.

It said that as technology changes this offers local authorities “radically new, platform-based approaches” to the operation of the ICT function and this was something different from previous conventions. 

“Thinking around such models is developing as central government invests in this approach, with potentially significant consequences for local public service delivery,” the report said.

Among the local authorities looking at platform-based approaches and featured in the report include Essex County Council, Peterborough City Council and Aylesbury Vale District Council.

“Dr Andy Hopkirk, Socitm head of research, said: “The ICT function stands on shifting sands, as major industry trends play out and service delivery models change.”

“Inside the ICT function itself, there are new ways of obtaining and organising ICT services and new ways of team working and liaising with those who commission and who consume ICT services: a potent and complicated mix.”

The report is available free of charge to Socitm Insight subscribers and accessible from the library of the Socitm Insight Group within the Knowledge Hub.

Colin Marrs

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