Socitm calls for public sector leaders to embrace equality, inclusivity and diversity to deliver transformation

Public sector leaders should make equality, inclusivity and diversity central to their transformation programmes, says Socitm.

In a new briefing, the public sector IT and digital leaders’ organisation calls for local government leaders – both managerial and political – to “realise the benefits of leading, managing, designing and delivering innovative and transformative change”.

Socitm argues that equality, inclusivity and diversity should extend beyond leadership to every tier, department and function in organisations and across the places in which they operate.

The briefing states that “equality of opportunity and inclusivity of diverse backgrounds, mindsets, beliefs and experiences bring with them new ideas, new energy, new understanding and new innovative approaches.” It continues: “These are assets that are vital to any organisation, not just local government and its digital and IT teams.”

Addressing inclusivity and diversity in all its forms sits within Socitm’s thinking about place-based, collaborative leadership. The briefing states that this approach to leadership “cuts across the silos of government and preordained organisational boundaries to focus on outcomes that matter to people in the places in which they live and work.”

It continues: “In leading, managing, designing and delivering transformed outcomes, local government needs to break free of traditional hierarchical and silo-based thinking and organisation: in short, traditional culture, beliefs, behaviours and actions need to be turned on their heads – and no more so than in the digital and IT domains.”

The briefing lays out a series of recommendations to help organisations realise their full potential in transforming local public services. Some of the steps digital and IT leaders should be taking include:

  • exploring and unlocking opportunities for degree apprenticeships in conjunction with local colleges and universities
  • encouraging routes to the top – training, experience, mentoring – for those coming from a diverse range of backgrounds
  • acting on guidance and good practices
  • using data to identify performance on equality, inclusivity and diversity

The briefing presents compelling examples of organisations making positive headway in addressing equality, inclusivity and diversity.

For example, Socitm is working alongside the Local Government Association (LGA), government departments and other professional associations to champion workforce equality, inclusivity and diversity through its Women in IT campaign and through its Leadership Academy programmes – Top Talent and Empowering Women in a Digital Age – and by promoting and raising awareness amongst its members about the benefits and opportunities of apprenticeships.

Other examples of good practice include Essex County Council, whose performance against the five areas defined in the Equality Framework for Government has been rated as “excellent” by the LGA, and Torbay Council, which has been at the forefront of establishing an apprenticeship programme in conjunction with local colleges and Plymouth University.

Commenting on the briefing, Martin Ferguson, Director of Policy and Research at Socitm, said: “Digital technology is now centre stage in enabling transformation, bringing with it far-reaching leadership, cultural and organisational challenges. That’s why we’re placing a greater priority on the people and cultural aspects of leading, managing, designing and delivering innovative and transformative change.

“Socitm is making a special call to local government leaders to embrace the issues raised in the briefing and to take action on the recommendations made. The

time to act is now, if digital and IT are to realise their full potential in transforming local public services.”

Embracing equality, inclusivity and diversity in delivering innovative and transformative change can be downloaded from the Socitm website: www.socitm.net

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