At Socitm’s 2012 conference in Birmingham, local IT leaders said they were concerned about the Government Digital Service’s strategy because it does not make much mention of local government.
Some audience members pointed out that the strategy could be used by local authorities to draw up their own version of the strategy and the strategy does say that the Cabinet Office will “work with local councils and their representative and professional bodies to help them to make improvements”.
However, according to Glyn Evans, former Corporate Director of Business Change at Birmingham City Council, the strategy as a “missed opportunity” and said that the current “concept of digital leaders is too similar to the ‘information age government champions’ created by Blair in 1999”.
Evans added that old IT systems need to be updated so that services can be better delivered, but that this was difficult in times of budget cuts.
According to Solihull council’s Head of ICT Steve Halliday: “We need to start asking some fundamental questions, like what’s the purpose of a local authority in the first place? And we have to make it easy for citizens to engage. We need to want to do this and move towards more digital solutions.”
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