Poverty prohibits £100 bn progress

Is old news important?  Yes, when we should be thinking about how the  Treasury says it can save £100bn by ending duplication of local services – as reported in the Independent.  It started a thread in the Kingston University Public Sector IMKS Forum, Linked in.  Stuart Mitchenall,  Head of Business Support Services at Tandridge District Council, made these points:

  • Local Governments transactions with the Public remain hugely less expensive than Central Government.
  • Central Government is likely to focus on the Civil Service and national systems, not locally centralised systems.
  • A solution is one data governance regime for personal data (as per the DPA) with individual details of a citizen.  This would allow purchase of common systems across local authorities – and lower costs.
  • Unfortunately this is not in the commercial interests of local government suppliers.  Almost without exception, suppliers see input data as part of their systems. They also claim outputs as theirs (try using an unsupported print rationalisation utility).

Stuart believes that the answer lies in adopting a different commercial model and abstracting a data model for management. He recognises it as “a big problem, with no simple resolution. Professional campaigning for abstraction of data is clouded in discussions about silos and system ownership, which are symptoms of the problem. Achieving data abstracted, and creating systems which truly allow interchangeability of commercial solutions, will drive costs down hugely. It will also cause the collapse of the current pyramids the suppliers have built and move us to the apps environment that the Gov ICT Strategy claims can happen (when it won’t).” How do voices like this get a hearing?  District Councils are at the bottom of the funding chain, but are in the best position to see huge inefficiencies in the system. The ideas for innovation are there – but no obvious means of execution.  Small, local partnerships are not the answer; some consolidated thinking is needed.  I am bound to say that leadership should come from SOCITM, but there aren’t the resources to initiate a programme, let alone deliver it.

1 Comment »

  1. I believe that the TRM solution that we have designed at PAOGA provides an affordable solution for local government and are keen to help. Have a look at http://www.publictechnology.net/sector/nhs-health/viewpoint-my-healthcare-under-my-control-my-consent-my-benefit for our proposals for the NHS.

    Comment by Graham Sadd — 29/10/2010 @ 10:30 am | Reply

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