authorities shows that the market continues to be served by a large number
of small suppliers specialising in particular applications. 78% of
suppliers identified in the survey have fewer than four installations
within participating authorities.
This year's survey includes returns from 248 councils (56% of the total)
and 18 fire authorities in England, Wales and Scotland. The survey covers
54 functions including applications supporting front line services such as
education, social services, housing, planning and leisure as well as back
office systems (financial, personnel, purchasing, vehicle maintenance,
The survey provides a comprehensive picture of the software used by each
council including the supplier and operating system, installation and the
planned replacement dates. It includes tables showing the 'market share'
(within the sample) of suppliers and provides councils' satisfaction
ratings with the performance of suppliers and with their products.
Significant findings from the survey are:
* across all existing applications, some 20% are still being
developed in-house. This figure rises for some areas, such as refuse
collection, which are less susceptible to standardisation
* within certain application areas a small number of suppliers can
dominate. For example, three suppliers share 80% of the market for electoral
* satisfaction with different suppliers varies significantly within
some application areas
According to editor Brian Westcott, the survey shows that there is
significant scope for rationalisation in the supply of software to local
authorities and that this would benefit both suppliers and purchasers.
'Some rationalisation has already taken place but this needs to go much
further. Within some application areas we currently have thirty or more
suppliers active, when around three to four is sufficient to provide
necessary levels of competition and choice.'
The survey is published in CD rom format and will be a useful source of
information for suppliers and councils alike. Suppliers can assess their
market share, while councils considering updating their software will be
able to see 'who's got what' and which products have the highest
satisfaction ratings. The CD also provides contact and product details for
the main suppliers featuring in the Index.