A majority of the public now see technology as the most significant force in the modernisation of the UK public sector, according to a new survey.
Published by software company Thoughtworks, it covered a representative sample of 2,041 adults and showed that 63% cited tech and data factors required by the public sector to modernise. In addition, 18% believed the public sector would specifically need to address issues on out-of-date technology and legacy IT.
Looking deeper at specific issues, 26% saw cyber security as a key challenge, and 24% highlighted the use of personal data. 23% believed advances in surveillance technology require serious thought on how to strike the right balance between security and personal privacy.
Respondents identified a number of areas in which technology could provide key benefits: enabling a faster response to national emergencies (45%); making public services cheaper to run (38%); improving community health and wellbeing (38%); ensuring remote communities enjoy the same rights and access to services (32%); and enhancing inclusivity and fairness (28%).
Skills, costs and ageing
On a broader front, 48% thought the public sector has to deal with skills shortages in key areas such as health and social care, 17% believed it would come under pressure to reduce costs and headcount, and 43% saw the ageing population as a major social issue.
In addition, 88% said they value the public sector more now than before the coronavirus pandemic broke.
David Howell, portfolio director, public sector at Thoughtworks, said: “The shape and focus on our public services will be different in tomorrow’s world, as it adjusts to reflect the changing needs of society.
“Technology has a key role to play in updating legacy systems in place and ensuring that Britain’s public services can be world leading in terms of speed, access, personalisation and value for money.”
The research was carried out online by research firm MaruBlue.
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