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Public sector leaders see three barriers to transformation



Report from Deloitte and Reform points to slow pace of change, but finds encouraging signs in public trust

Digital transformation is moving more slowly than hoped by many UK public sector organisations, with significant barriers in the way of progress, according to global consultancy company Deloitte and think tank Reform.

This is despite the way that digital has changed the outlook of leaders and a recognition of the technology’s potential.

The findings are included in the State of the State 2017-18 report, compiled from interviews with 45 public sector leaders from across the UK, and surveys of more than 1,000 citizens and businesses to explore their views on government.

It says that organisations’ leaders are pushing their own transformation campaigns, but running into significant problems in three main areas. One is that their teams lack the necessary skills, a problem deriving largely from the inability to match the high salaries paid by the private sector.

Another is that technology vendors sometimes fail to understand the complexity of public authorities; and the third that they do not always have sufficient bandwidth to make use of new technologies.

Changing boundaries

Despite this, the leaders can see that digital technology is changing the boundaries and environments within which their organisations work. The report says this can encourage place based approaches to the way public bodies operate.

It also makes the point that people generally trust government more than business with their data. Asked whether they have trust in one sector or the other, 56% gave positive responses for government compared with just 31% for companies.

Within this there were demographic divides, with younger people and higher earners generally being more trusting of both sectors, and a belief that public authorities are less likely to use the data for marketing purposes.

In addition, people indicated they are more inclined to show trust when they know that regulations apply to how their data is being used.

This provides some encouragement for Deloitte’s assertion that government should build on public trust to make more use of data, explaining to people how and why it is being used to improve decision-making and outcomes.

Image from report cover

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