Public sector austerity could transform local authority intranets, says Socitm

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With the UK public sector set for further austerity measures, Socitm is predicting that it could provide an opportunity for the development of local authority intranets.

According to its latest briefing ‘Better connected intranets’, senior management in the public sector may begin to use their council intranet for the first time with service and financial cuts, and be disappointed with the facilities available.

Socitm is forecasting that this may incentivise local authorities to invest in their intranet systems; the briefing suggests that the systems can be brought up to speed quickly by sharing best practices amongst authorities.

Socitm found that intranets are currently a low priority for councils, which are focusing more on customer service websites, and therefore have minimal functionality, poor navigation systems, an overreliance on ‘PDF’ formatting with an overall lack of engagement from senior management.

The research found that the intranet should fulfil four primary purposes: applying for holiday or travel expenses; finding a directory of colleagues; information regarding management and authority strategies; and news or current events.

One of the barriers to investment by councils in their intranets is that although savings from citizen self-service are now well recognised, the same is not true of employee self-service,” said Martin Greenwood, author of the briefing.

Behind all this is the plain fact that the value of employee time continues to be insufficiently recognised by senior management.

Additional drivers right now for investment in intranets are the increase in shared service developments and a rise in flexible working, both of which are supported by an effective intranet.”

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