Latest Public Sector News

21.04.17

LGiU: Councillors not ‘digital dinosaurs’ but skills gap still an issue

Councillors across the country are not “digital dinosaurs” and generally hold strong and positive views about technology and data, a new report has announced.

The ‘Start of the possible’ research, conducted by the Local Government Information Unit (LGiU), asked 800 locally-elected council representatives 17 open and closed questions on their perception and attitude to technology and data, and found that council members were well versed in the use of digital technology and its potential for growth in their authority.

However, the findings also found that the issue of digital exclusion was still ripe in many areas, and that the divide in digital skills was an issue for many in leadership positions.  

Despite this, the report did point to a clear backing for digital being a key part of local government pushing for further devolution, and a desire from councillors to learn more about technology and transformation.

Cllr Theo Blackwell, author of the report and a Camden councillor, said: “Successful digital transformation requires redesign on every level – workforce, customer service, process, governance and technology – to make public services faster at doing things, more adaptable, able to share more information and do so securely.

“For this to happen we need to support digital leadership right across our cities and counties in order to make public services more effective and make a difference to the people and communities they represent.”

Cllr Blackwell also added that now was the time to translate the report’s findings into action and use digital to develop authorities and push devolution.  

“This research shows that the vast majority of councillors are not “digital dinosaurs”, but hold positive views about the application of technology to public services and how councils should work together and share data.

“There is a good foundation built by those leading councils who have set out bold digital plans,” he said. “There is now a need for proper co-ordination between authorities supported by a new deal with Whitehall.”

And chief executive of LGiU Jonathan Carr-West said that the shift to digital in local government and public services was a subject that had been covered extensively, and that the report highlighted a thirst for councillors to utilise the potential digital offers.

“Such a shift represents an opportunity, almost uniquely, to drive down costs while simultaneously improving outcomes,” he said.

“But that’s not just a question of doing the same things better online, it’s about using digital as a way of thinking and connecting, of driving a cultural and relational attitude that changes how we think about what local government does and how it interacts with the communities it serves.”

Have you got a story to tell? Would you like to become a PSE columnist? If so, click here.

Comments

Rosalind Willatts   27/04/2017 at 21:45

This interesting article is unreadable because of the disturbing flashing and moving adverts alongside it. Static Adverts would be more appropriate.

Add your comment

 

public sector executive tv

more videos >

last word

The importance of openness after Grenfell

The importance of openness after Grenfell

Following the recent Grenfell Tower tragedy, Lord Porter, chairman of the LGA, argues that if the public are going to have faith in the safety testing process then everything must be out in the open more > more last word articles >

public sector focus

View all News

comment

Support for councils following Grenfell

04/09/2017Support for councils following Grenfell

Ian Moore, CEO of the Fire Industry Association (FIA), discusses the wider ... more >
A quiet revolution

04/09/2017A quiet revolution

Dermot Ryan, programme director at NHS Digital for the Health and Social Ca... more >

interviews

‘The HSCN is the realisation of industry best practice’

30/06/2017‘The HSCN is the realisation of industry best practice’

Keith Smith, public sector business development manager at Virgin Media Bus... more >

the raven's daily blog

How would local government look under a Labour government?

25/09/2017How would local government look under a Labour government?

Few will disagree with the statement that the current landscape of local government is one that has been shaped by seven years of Tory influence. Harsh austerity measures... more >
read more blog posts from 'the raven' >

editor's comment

14/08/2017Time for reflection

A lot has happened since the last edition of PSE was published. In particular, the snap general election delivered an astounding result that many of the pollsters and political experts could not have predicted when Theresa May initially called for it back in April. Chris Painter, Professor Emeritus at Birmingham City University, provides a fascinating analysis of the campaign, and assesses the aftermath of the election on pages 26-28. It is a must-read article.  During the... read more >