Socitm’s Call To Arms For Improving Local ICT

Socitm’s Planting the Flag report lays the foundations for necessary and radical local government ICT reforms

Socitm has released its first detailed ICT strategy document for developing local public services. Planting the Flag covers the organisational changes and new approaches required across a broad scope of local government services: local authority, health, education, emergency services and civil society organisations.

The report is based on three core principles: collaboration, sharing and the re-use of assets; the redesigning of services to simplify, standardise and automate processes; and innovative thinking to empower individuals and communities.

ICT And Public Service Reform

Planting the Flag is an initiative led by Socitm’s Futures group looking at public service reform and technology’s role in enabling that change. It is a guide for senior management that gives a local spin to the Government ICT Strategy.

Socitm describes it as a “call to arms” which will be followed by a more detailed report, Planning the Route, further down the line. At November’s Socitm Annual Conference, a major part will be dedicated to showing what progress has been made in developing the Planning the Route strategy.

The Flag document works at a higher level. It specifies several strategic capabilities that should already be in place to support the change in ICT. These comprise a CIO with true leadership qualities, governance over how desired outcomes can be achieved, strategic commissioning and supplier management, and a willingness to embrace organisational change.

Each section describes where the plan will lead to in five years time. It also explains why the change is necessary and how it can be achieved. It also indicates which key players will be charged with effecting the changes, principally local CEOs, CFOs and CIOs.

The main message within the strategy for IT upper management is to challenge currently held beliefs and to make bold moves. In short, radical and fast change but aligned with public service outcomes and the business’ organisational requirements.

Planting the Flag has been endorsed by government CIO Joe Harley. “The core themes of ‘Planting the Flag’: sharing and re-using our assets, simplifying and standardising our services and empowering citizens and communities, are also fully aligned with the actions highlighted in our central Government ICT Strategy,” he said.