Telecoms giant BT has claimed that by investing in technology and staff training, local government will be able to do “more with less” and improve public services.
The firm made the claims after its new research revealed that 75% of local authorities it survey said they have embraced technology to transform their services.
However, BT says that skills gaps must be addressed for councils to truly increase efficiency and maximise the benefits of investing in new technology.
The report, Public Services: Delivering the Next Generation of Change, asked around 400 local government officials how public services can be successful by using technology, skills and collaboration.
A total 87% of participants said that cost savings are the highest priority within their organisations, feel increasing pressure due to budget cuts.
“It’s encouraging to see that three quarters of public sector organisations have already embraced technology to help transform their services,” claimed BT president of global government and health Ian Dalton.
“Technology alone can’t continue to sustain the public sector mantra of #do more with less.’ We need to be more creative, using solutions such as mobile working and collaboration technologies to transform how public services are delivered,” he added.
Just a quarter of respondents reports that they felt investing in their people was high on the importance list, even though the research identified between the quality public services need to be and skills needed to reach that standard.
Just 7% claimed the skills held within their organisation met a sufficient level in comparison with 41% who said IT literacy for all staff was important.
The majority (87%) of those polled recognised an innovation culture was important, but 49% report such a culture was non-existent in their place of work.
Collaboration and mobile working also ranked highly as key factors for improved delivery of public services, with 94% and 86% agreeing respectively – but these would both need skilled IT workers.
“It’s clear from this research that public sector investment should be balanced across both technology and people, particularly in skills such as IT literacy,” claimed Dalton.
“Many digital inclusion and IT skills training programmes exist, but focus on citizens, not 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,” he added.