Council chiefs 'fear demand' created by digital
Corporate managers in some councils are reluctant to invest in channel shift because of fears it will increase demand for services, according to Socitm president Nick Roberts.
Making the opening address at the 2014 Socitm annual conference, Roberts said that digital technology was essential to helping councils cope with cuts in funding.
But he added that there was a fear among some council leaders that improving the user experience could put extra pressure on hard-pressed departments.
He said: “If we do digital right, we make the services easier to use and cheaper and make them more efficient.
“The rub that comes from that is it makes the services easier to access and increases demand.
For example, if you make pothole reporting very simple then you get a lot of reported potholes and an expectation you are going to repair them – the highways budget goes through the roof.
“That creates a kickback against digital.”
He called for senior digital officers to have a “sensible conversation” with colleagues to persuade them that the risk of extra demand is not a reason for retaining digital services that are difficult to use. .
Roberts said that a new Socitm technology board would attempt to improve dialogue between the demand and supply side in public digital services.
The aim would be to identify good practice as well as identifying where “technical inhibitors” exist, he said.
Roberts said, separately, that Rob Miller, head of shared ICT services at Royal Borough of Kingston and London Borough of Sutton would chair a Socitm group looking at the issue of sharing data with organisations which are not on the Public Services Network.
Trusts will no longer be allowed to purchase the technology from January
EU citizens working in the NHS and higher education sectors can now apply for settled status in the UK – but those with an iPhone could face a long journey if they wish to do so
Tom Read, CDIO at the Ministry of Justice, talks to PublicTechnology about how he believes technology and digital services could help turn prisons from a ‘Victorian dungeon to a...
In rare speech, top spy Alex Younger claimed that ‘the digital era has profoundly changed our operating environment’