Culture, lack of funding and skills in the public sector holds back digital, claims Deloitte

The public sector is lacking the skills, funding and culture to successfully deliver digital public services, a survey of 400 public service leaders conducted by Deloitte has found.

Leaders from across central and local government, the NHS, police and further and higher educational sectors were questioned on how their organisations are adapting to digital innovations.

Over 85% of those surveyed agreed that implementation of digital technologies is crucial to success, but only 12% said they are actively involving and consulting citizens in the design of such services and only half have the ability to capture citizens’ preferences.

The vast majority, 89%, said that their organisation is pursuing digital services to cut costs but that less than a third have increased their funding to shift to digital and a smaller group of 28% feel they have adequate resources to bring in the correct skills.

Of those surveyed, only a quarter believe that their organisation has the sufficient internal skills to execute their digital plans and two thirds do not think that management possess the correct level of digital skills.

Overall only one-third of those surveyed are confident that their organisation is well-placed to respond to digital trends.

Joel Bellman, public sector digital partner at Deloitte, said: “In terms of efficiency and money saved, there is a great deal to gain from digital public services.

Citizens are accustomed to excellent digital services in other areas of their lives and do not accept that government is immune from this. Our survey finds a disconnect between those designing digital public service and those that will use them.

The technology is there for the public sector to take advantage, yet they lack the culture, skills, governance and leadership to do so. The public sector needs to ramp up its digital skills, just one quarter saying they have the right skills in place is not a good omen.

Funding is clearly going to be difficult in an age of austerity but digital is a route to long term savings.”

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