Local government told to prepare for a “technological revolution”

According to local authority body Solace, austerity will define local government IT for another 30 years.

Speaking at Civica Expo 2015 in Machester, the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives business chair, Kim Ryley, said: “Austerity is the new normal; it’s going to be with us for a generation, probably 25, 30 years, because there’s going to be no real growth in public service spending once cuts hopefully start to level off around 2020.”

Ryley told delegates that a technological revolution over the next ten years will aid councils in meeting new demands. He said:  “Underpinning all of that is a technological revolution happening at the speed where in the next 10 years it will [achieve] what took the industrial revolution 100 years to achieve, in terms of a profound shift in the way we operate and work.”

Local government will be forced to make some tough changes in order to meet the digital-first model of public service delivery, he said.

Additionally, Ryley stressed the importance of civil servants’ being digitally savvy. He said: “The reskilling of our staff is still underestimated. Many of us are assuming we’ll keep most of our current staff with us. What I see happening in 10 years is us having the need for a quite fundamentally different workforce to the one that we’ve got currently. Either we have people adapt and go with us on that journey or we’re going to need a new set of workers able to work effectively and comfortably in that environment.”

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