Many local authorities have yet to fully embrace digital, even though such approaches are often the most plausible response to austerity and budget cuts.
This is according to the Society of Information Technology Manger (Socitm) which has published a new report examining local councils across the UK and their approach to digital.
Living with austerity: making hard choices for ICT investment claims to show how digital underpins the most likely future scenarios for sustainable local public services.
It also says that enabling the technologies themselves poses little challenge, but getting service departments to unlock their imagination, overcome traditional thinking and capitalise on the digital opportunity is a little more difficult.
The report urges ICT managers to get involved in changing the culture within their organisations, rather than leaving frontline services to decide what to do in isolation.
It asks them to combat entrenched attitudes, technophobia, rigid adherence to ‘the way things are done around here’ and concerns about role and job security.
“We are perhaps only half-way through the journey that is austerity,” claimed Socitm’s immediate past president Nick Roberts.
“The only way we can achieve the required organisational savings is to be radical and disruptive and force an organisation to work differently.
“Socitm believes it is the responsibility of the CIO and their teams to identify these opportunities,” Roberts added.
According to the Socitm document, if the ICT function is successful in encouraging change, it will achieve its potential to save public services from a steady decline caused by cuts.
It claims IT heads need to engage in an extended dialogue about the business challenges they face and how ICT can help modernise services processes, repositioning ICT as a digital service and valued business partner rather than its traditional role of ‘back office’ technology provider and operator.