Innovation and changeGovernment TechnologyLocal government digital communications report shows inconsistency in investment

Local government digital communications report shows inconsistency in investment

Local Government digital communications report establishes an accurate picture of local government digital communications

Research by Invotra on the state of UK Council digital communications has highlighted the inconsistency in the levels of investment in employee engagement by UK local authorities. However, there is recognition of the importance of investing in a digital workplace strategy.

The research also found that authorities are aware that it helps to ensure the delivery of improved council services for the public. The Local Government digital communications report included results from 379 local authority respondents.

The research

Invotra undertook research over three months via Freedom of Information. A total of 379 councils across the UK were asked the following questions:

  1. Do you have a digital workplace strategy (DWS)?
  2. What is your annual IT budget?
  3. Average annual IT spend per user?
  4. Who is responsible for managing the intranet?
  5. What is your annual intranet budget?
  6. How long have you had a relationship with your existing intranet provider?
  7. Are you using OpenSource applications?
  8. Are you using SaaS applications?

Key findings

  • Scotland has the largest percentage of Councils with a current digital workplace strategy (69%)
  • Annual IT budgets range from £55 million in Manchester, with Scotland having the highest average annual IT spend
  • There are huge differences in the average IT spend per employee – £9,167 in Manchester compared to £1.95 in Kent
  • There are over 280 different types of job titles that describe the person that manages the intranet within Councils, demonstrating the complexity within ‘DigitalGov’
  • Annual intranet budgets are low, averaging £20,000 per Council and represent less than 1% of annual IT budgets
  • Some councils have no intranet while others have always had the same platform in place for over 20 years
  • Only 23 Councils manage their intranets inhouse with the majority using external suppliers

Challenges in local government

Three key challenges within local government, based on quantitative and qualitative data:

  • With the right platform and training, it is easy to share specific roles/permissions out across the organisation so that teams and individuals can use the intranet independently
  • Social applications that have been designed based on research, analytics and existing government customers will significantly enhance collaboration
  • An informative digital platform will enable staff to find the information they need in order to serve the public at a faster and more efficient rate

Paul Zimmerman, Chief Operating Officer, Invotra commented: “Our report highlights many positives about operational digital workplace strategies as well as significant investments in IT. The UK’s digital communications map is, however, patchy – there are haves and have nots.

“What is evident, is the complexity and difficulty there exists for a standard or unified approach to developing digital communications for council employees to give them a loud, effective voice. There are hundreds of different people and departments managing Council IT and intranets across the UK. We believe the best way to overcome this complexity is by using technology solutions – platforms that encompass social and collaboration tools and blockchain to assist greater engagement within local authorities, and with central government departments.”

“With our central and local government experience – providing intranet services, hosting PanGov meetings and an exclusive portal – we wanted to share our report findings to encourage insight into the state of council digital communications today while proposing recommendations as to how they might improve in the future.”

Recent times have seen civil servants focus more on digital skills. 22 civil servants received training on technical skills through Software Developer Accelerated Apprenticeship.

Gartner has predicted that by 2023, 50 percent of the roles that government CIOs will oversee do not exist in government IT today.

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