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Socitm states need for more shared services in Scotland

Organisation supports findings of McLelland review of Scottish public sector ICT

Public sector IT managers' organisation Socitm has welcomed the shared services recommendations of the McClelland Review of public sector ICT infrastructure in Scotland.

Socitm pledged support for implementing the review's recommendations, which were published by the Scottish government on 21 June.

The review, led by John McClelland, chair of the Scottish Funding Council, recommended that public sector organisations should move away from the prevalent model of "standalone self-sufficiency", in which nearly all organisations have fully and professionally staffed information functions and most have their own data centres.

Socitm has already called for the public sector in England to move towards the shared service model.

The Scottish review also concludes that spending on ICT could be reduced by implementing changes in management, structures and strategy. It says savings could then be partially reinvested in a faster adoption of technology, including, for instance, the faster adoption of online services for citizens and businesses.

The review also calls for more benchmarking as a means to identify improvement opportunities.

"These findings and recommendations have much in common with those set out in our strategy for local public service reform, recently published under the banner "Planting the Flag", said Socitm. "Planting the Flag recognises the challenge of delivering improved services while at the same time cutting costs, and emphasises the need to focus on sharing and re-using assets, simplifying and standardising services, and empowering citizens and communities."

The McClelland Review aims to complete individual and national new strategies by the end of September 2011, commence new procurement and technical plans in October, and agree new strategies and future ICT budgets by the end of November.

Socitm Scotland chair Alan Kirkwood, who is head of ICT services at Moray Council, said, "Socitm Scotland welcomes McClelland's main recommendations to improve sharing of ICT capacity and infrastructure across the public sector, and to introduce appropriate governance in Scotland to oversee this change."

Socitm Scotland will be running a conference for the public sector on 22 September in Edinburgh where John McClelland will be speaking. The major focus will be on the review and its implementation.

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