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Socitm urges better use of shared services

Core principles are: Collaborate, redesign and innovate

Socitm has published the full version of its strategy document - "Planting the Flag: the Strategy for ICT-enabled local public services reform" - urging councils to make more use of shared services.

The summary version of the strategy was unveiled at the public sector IT managers association's spring conference earlier this month. The strategy sets out how technology can enable public service reforms and savings across the whole range of local services, with shared services at the centre of the initiative.

Socitm said the full version of Planting the Flag is aimed at CIOs, heads of ICT, ICT specialists and private sector ICT suppliers to local public services.

The document sets out three core principles for reform of local public services - collaborate, redesign and innovate. It also details six strategic capabilities: leadership, governance, organisational change, strategic commissioning, shared services and professionalism.

Six key information and technology issues that Socitm said "will determine success" are highlighted. These are business change; digital access and inclusion; local public services infrastructure; information governance; information management, assurance and transparency; and ICT policies of central government departments.

For each of these capabilities and issues the strategy describes the desired scenario in five years time, sets out what needs to change and why, demonstrates how change can be achieved, and states what key players need to do now to start the process of change.

Publication of the full document marks the beginning of Planning the Route, the second phase in the development of the strategy. Discussions have started with local authority bodies SOLACE (chief executives) and CIPFA (finance directors) about workshops and other supporting activities and guidance to make this happen.

Local plans will be brought together at the three day Socitm Annual Conference that begins in Birmingham on 29 November.

Planting the Flag has been endorsed by government chief information officer Joe Harley. In the document he writes: "The themes contained in Planting the Flag rise to the challenge of delivery of improved services while at the same time cutting costs. We must also continue to innovate, adopting new processes and developing new products to meet the growing challenges faced by the public sector."

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