Funding gaps and rigid attitudes ‘holding back technology shift in councils’

7 Aug 17

A lack of funding together with an unwillingness to change is holding back the adoption of technology in local government, according to a survey of council employees.

The communications firm 8x8 canvassed 1,095 local government staff about the uptake of technology and found 60% felt budgets were a constraint on advancements of this kind in the sector.

Bosses were also blamed for the slow introduction of new technology, with 22% of staff saying individuals were hampering the process to maintain the status quo in their places of work.

This view is more prevalent amongst those in IT procurement, where 35% believe colleagues are standing in the way of technology because it will disrupt what they already have in place. 

The study found only 51% of respondents believe senior management understand the importance of new technology and just 21% think they invest enough money to stay up to date with the latest developments.

This contrasts with the private sector where 56% believe there is sufficient investment in new technology, according to an earlier 8x8 study from 2016.

Another barrier to further digitalisation of council services is the concern 33% of respondents identified over security risks associated with new technology, such as sensitive data leaks.

Although there appears to be some resistance to change, the survey showed that a large majority (82%) of respondents thought technology had a positive impact on their organisation.

Kevin Scott-Cowell, UK managing director at 8x8, said: “It’s encouraging to see optimism about the benefits of new technology amongst staff within local authorities.

“Yet it’s clear a minority of individuals are still standing in the way of change and, while they are small in number, they are having a huge impact on their organisation. Ultimately, the damage is felt by the residents missing out on improved and streamlined services.”

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