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REPORT BENCHMARKING THE ICT SERVICE SHEDS LIGHT ON IMPACT OF OUTSOURCING

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Authorities with significantly outsourced ICT services spend 25% more ...
Authorities with significantly outsourced ICT services spend 25% more

per user

-Outsourcing has no discernable impact on satisfaction of ICT users

A new Socitm report Benchmarking the ICT Service sheds some interesting

light on the impact of outsourcing local authority ICT services, suggesting

that authorities with significantly outsourced ICT services spend 25% more

per user and that outsourcing has no discernable impact on the satisfaction

of local authority staff using ICT services.

The report also reveals that spending more money on ICT is unlikely in

itself to improve user satisfaction, but that the political regime does

appear to have an impact, both on user satisfaction and the level of

investment in ICT.

Also significant, in terms of overall expenditure on ICT, is the level of

seniority of the Head of ICT. Interestingly, the higher up they are in the

organisation, the less is spent on ICT. The position of the person the

Head of ICT reports into is also likely to affect the level of investment.

Benchmarking the ICT Service summarises and provides analysis of the

results from three benchmarking groups which completed data collection

during 2001. The Socitm benchmarking scheme has been developed to help ICT

units within local authorities identify potential improvements in

performance using a series of key performance indicators (KPIs) developed

by Socitm's best value group. The report is based on results from a total

of 49 participating authorities from across the UK. The report analysis is

also informed by a second benchmarking service run by Socitm which focuses

on user satisfaction among local authority staff who use ICT for their

work. The benchmarking user satisfaction service which began in April 1999

and has just completed its seventh series, has captured data from 21,000

users in 140 local authorities.

According to Martin Greenwood, programme manager for Socitm Insight which

published the report, the data emerging from Socitm's benchmarking

activities is a major and unique asset: 'The data can be mined for all

sorts of information about performance and performance management, not

just in the 'nuts and bolts' of the ICT service as currently delivered, but

also for information about how to deliver the vision of e-government and

meet the rising expectation of citizens and customers, individuals,

businesses and other organizations.'

The report suggests that the Socitm key performance indicators (KPIs),

which are continuing to develop, and the associated benchmarking services

will help all local authorities to deliver the challenging agenda of

e-government. In particular, they will help individual councils answer key

questions such as:

- Does access to services match the needs of the community?

- Are plans and delivery mechanisms in place that will meet the

government's targets for electronic service delivery?

- Are systems and procedures in place that will enable electronic

service delivery through the right mix of channels?

- Does the council provide value for money in the way it delivers

services?

The report also raises the issue of investment in ICT at a time when local

authorities are gearing up to deliver e-government. Local authorities

already invest only 65% of the average found across other sectors, and

funding is almost invariably identified as the number one obstacle to the

development of e-government. However, the report highlights the fact that,

based on expenditure per user, there is a very patchy and uneven record of

funding across local authorities to date. The lowest and highest level of

investment in each type of authority varies by a factor of three or four,

suggesting that differences in investment levels are determined by factors

other than just size and type of authority. These reasons are likely to

include political and management commitment to ICT investment and the

contribution that this might make.

Copies of Benchmarking the ICT Service cost£149, and can be purchased

here, or from the Socitm office (call/fax 01604 674800 or

email bob.griffith@socitm.gov.uk). The report is free to Socitm Insight

subscribers. A four page executive summary of the report is also available

with the report.

Notes to editors

Socitm is an association of ICT professionals working in and for local

authorities and other public sector bodies. It is a leading authority on

the effective application of ICT in local government, and provides

information and advice through a growing programme of research,

publications, conferences, training, and consultancy. More at

www.socitm.gov.uk.

Socitm Insight is a subscription service to which over 400 local

authorities and other public sector organisations now belong. It identifies

good ICT management practice in local government. Socitm Insight has

produced a series of comprehensive and detailed guides on all the major ICT

themes linked to the critical issues of the day, which provide valuable

advice and support for ICT practitioners.

The Socitm Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

1 Customer Satisfaction

2 Percentage calls resolved within agreed timescale

3 Percentage of successful projects

4 Acquisition cost of workstation

5 Cost of connection to voice network

6 Cost of connection to data network

7 Support costs per workstation

8 Workstations supported per support specialist

9 Ratio of workstations to employees

10 Number of training hours received per employee

11 Availability of the ICT service

12 Accessibility of information to the general public

13 Electronic service delivery

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