11 Issues and Opportunities
- There are some impressive individual and sector-wide projects that can be built upon. If these exemplars were the norm and not exceptions the sector would be closer to achieving the vision described earlier in this review.
- Adoption of ICT although lagging behind the private sector is progressing and benefits are actively pursued.
- ICT could be used much more extensively in improving the quality of services and in offering easier and improved online access to services.
- Deployment of ICT is far from optimum and could be greatly enhanced in most parts of the sector.
- Although there are some good examples of shared deployment step function progress is required in the sharing of ICT investments and operations.
- Excess resources and cost are being created by the existing operating mode of "standalone self-sufficiency" including the operation of many separate data centres and local systems development. The public sector should recognise that this operating mode is no longer affordable nor is it appropriate given the capability now available in the industry including in particular high speed broadband telecommunications.· The public sector's internal processes and "go to market" approach for procurement and commissioning is mostly inadequate especially given the industry's characteristics. It could not possibly be achieving best value.
- At approximately £1.4bn the absolute level of investment in ICT could be reduced by implementing essential change in its management, structures and strategy.
- Savings can be made and could be partially reinvested in more quickly progressing ICT adoption and pursuit of the vision for the public sector.
- The absence of oversight and some form of governance over ICT within each part of the public sector and nationally is a major reason for the fragmented and uncoordinated approach.
- Shared ICT is the key to wider sharing of other internal processes and services.
- There are few examples of seamless cross-sector sharing of ICT capability and data in pursuit of addressing the needs of those requiring support from multiple parts of the public sector. It is clear that there is at present no forceful cross-sector pursuit of this and it seems there is even reluctance to engage in a citizen/customer/patient-driven single-focused approach. As a result there are similar parallel investments taking place within sectors that might be combined to avoid duplicated spend.
- Potential advantages of and savings from outsourcing are not fully exploited in most parts of the public sector thus creating more internal fixed cost, a higher need for capital investment and a greater need for long-term maintenance of internal skill levels than may be sustainable.
- Environmental sustainability while regarded as being a key goal is not well served by the existing set of structures and operating practices such as the multiplicity of individual data centres, the progress still to be made on mobile working and electronic delivery of and access to public services.