BusinessCompany NewsPublic sector FDs not hooked on IT

Public sector FDs not hooked on IT

Half of finance directors in the public sector don't think technology is crucial to their organisation, despite government pledges to e-enable all public services by 2005.

According to a report by Unisys, most public sector IT directors don’t believe they are getting the support they need to deliver e-government projects.

The study of 400 senior IT and finance managers in UK companies employing more than 500 staff also found that IT directors in the public sector are most likely to feel undervalued and under-resourced.

Three quarters cite staffing resources as a major issue and 96% say their existing budget allocation is insufficient. One in three lack confidence in their ability to deliver against business objectives over the next 12 months.

Unisys UK managing director Brian Hadfield said a lack of collaboration between local authorities was leading to a lot of ‘reinventing of the wheel’ and poor value for money of IT investment.

‘The government needs to stop paying lip service to “joined up Government” and start doing it. Local authorities don’t have the resources or the talent. Government, local authorities and suppliers should be looking to band together so not everyone is reinventing the wheel,’ Hadfield said.

Hadfield also warned that the public sector was still too hung up on ownership of technology and not enough on providing a valuable customer experience. ‘Having a strategy is one thing but getting people to use online services is another thing,’ he said.

Fahri Zihni, education officer at the Society of IT Management and chief IT officer at Wolverhampton City Council, said changes in technology and legislation together with increasing user and citizen expectations meant that IT managers had the toughest job in the public sector.

‘They need to be infrastructure architects, lawyers, customer relationships managers, innovators and negotiators as well as providing business continuity. This position is not yet recognised by heads of departments, chief officers and politicians who still believe that ICT management is a factory process,’ Zihni said.

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