Socitm to unveil shared services strategy

Public sector IT managers association Socitm has said councils and other bodies should prepare themselves for "unprecedented levels of collaboration" between local authorities, emergency services, health, education and civil society organisations.

Socitm will launch next week its Strategy for ICT-enabled local public services, also known as "Planting the Flag". The news comes as the organisation appointed a new president, Glyn Evans of Birmingham City Council.

Socitm said wider collaboration and shared services would lead to a "radical re-design" of local public service delivery. The successful implementation of its strategy, said Socitm, will lead to "significant savings and better outcomes for people where they live and work".

Jos Creese, outgoing Socitm president, said: "Planting the Flag sets out a destination and stakes out local public service delivery territory. Our aim is that it provides a compass, a torch and a map to navigate through the territory, with organisations coming together in different localities and using it to work out the particular route to their desired destination."

The strategy rejects the "one size fits all" approach for local public services, and the "rigid, large-scale technology-led programmes driven from Whitehall", supported by previous governments.

Socitm said its strategy was more in tune with the government's recently launched ICT Strategy. The Planting the Flag strategy document is billed as a "call to arms", and will be followed by a second phase strategy document called "Planning the Route", which will provide more details on how the strategy can be delivered at a local level.

Planting the Flag sets out three core principles (collaborate, redesign and innovate), and six strategic capabilities - leadership, governance, organisational change, strategic commissioning, shared services and professionalism.

There are also six key issues around information and technology that can help redesign local public services, Socitm said. These are:

-Business change - Strategies and policies should be developed for designing and implementing new operating models across local public services that are sensitive to local circumstances and co-produced with partners and service users.

-Digital access and inclusion - Local public service organisations should publish data to open standards to allow third parties to use it to deliver applications and services.

-Local public services infrastructure - Technologies should be implemented to allow staff to work securely anytime, anyplace, anywhere and from most devices - including personally owned consumer devices.

-Information governance - Changes to current practice are needed across public services in information governance, architecture and responsibilities.

-Information management, assurance and transparency - Failure to share and a tendency to duplicate information across local public services are endemic and there is no common, local public services security framework.

-ICT polices of central government departments - Common information assurance approaches and standards, especially around health services, are needed, and mandating all public service organisations to move to the proposed Public Sector Network

Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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