Public sector move to universal online platform for customer services failing

The public sector lacks the skills, funding and culture to effectively deliver digital public services - or move to a universal online delivery platform for all public-facing services - despite widespread recognition that this will cut costs and improve efficiencies, according to research by Deloitte

A survey of more than 400 public service leaders across central and local government, the NHS, police and further and higher education looked at how their organisations are moving toward digital services and the use of online delivery for services.

Despite 86% saying it is essential to success, just 12% say they are actively involving and consulting citizens in the design of digital services, with only half having the ability within their organisations to capture citizens’ views and preferences.

Although 89% say their organisation is pursuing digital services to cut costs, just 32% say that funding for the shift to digital within their organisations has increased and 28% have the right level of resources available to bring in expertise.

Only one in four says their organisation has sufficient skills within the organisation to execute their digital plans and one in three says their organisation’s leaders have the right level of digital skills.

Overall, two thrids of respondents do not have confidence that their organisation will be able to respond quickly to developments in digital technology to meet customer expectations.

Although 74% of respondents rely on outsourced expertise, most (83%) say that procurement rules hinder their ability to source digital services.

Joel Bellman, public sector digital partner at Deloitte, said:‘Our survey finds a disconnect between those designing digital public service and those that will use them. The technology is there for the public sector to take advantage, yet they lack the culture, skills, governance and leadership to do so.’

‘Funding is clearly going to be difficult in an age of austerity but digital is a route to long-term savings. The public sector needs to ramp up its digital skills, just one quarter saying they have the right skills in place is not a good omen.’

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Pat Sweet |Reporter, Accountancy Daily [2010-2021]

Pat Sweet was the former online reporter at Accountancy Daily and contributor to the monthly Accountancy magazine, pub...

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