NI civil servants ‘leading the way’ in innovative public sector IT

9 Oct 17

Northern Ireland’s civil service is leading the way in innovative public sector IT, the CIPFA Northern Ireland annual conference heard.

Hugh Widdis, interim permanent secretary for the Department of Finance Northern Ireland, told attendees in Belfast on Friday – the last day of the two-day conference – his department in particular was at the forefront of developing technological advancements.

“The NICS [Northern Ireland Civil Service] continues to be at the forefront of using innovative Public Sector IT to reduce costs while delivering improved services,” he stated.

“Our commitment on shared services continues to be one of most effective means of doing this through a range of initiatives.”

He added: “The Department of Finance also leads the way in developing and promoting new approaches to delivering services through greater use of technology and digitisation as the primary way for citizens to interact with our services.”

He noted that the department now offers 30 digital services, which have seen more than 8.8 million online transactions.

Widdis listed technological advancements he said had created public finance savings in NI: 

  • The launch of two shared public sector data centres in December 2016, generating expected savings of £0.5m per annum.  
  • NICS’s development of a private cloud solution with Hewlett Packard, with expected benefits of over £10m over the next five years. 
  • Contract to provide NI courts service with a full range of IT services, generating additional revenue of £1.4m per year, and saving courts service £1m annually.

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