Local council IT doesn’t deliver

The Audit Commission’s Best Value Inspection Service found IT services failing in all but one of the local authorities surveyed under the Government’s five-year best value targets.

Local authorities are too cautious and do not consider outsourcing or partnership arrangements to improve service delivery, says Peter Wylie, southern regional director of the BVIS.

The survey of six councils found little evidence of ‘blue sky’ thinking or innovative application of technology.

‘It was disappointing that IT is being exploited so unimaginatively in so many authorities,’ said Wylie.

The problem is rooted in a lack of vision, with councils benchmarking service provision using data from local authority body the Society of IT Managers but failing to deploy systems strategically.

A Socitm survey last week found that the large number of suppliers to local authorities is hampering progress towards best-value delivery.

‘Within some application areas we have 30 or more suppliers active, when three or four is sufficient to provide necessary levels of competition and choice,’ said survey editor Brian Westcott.


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