Public sector IT managers body Socitm has called on the government to focus on locally delivered information handling and technology deployment, in order to improve and lower the cost of public service delivery.
In an official response document to the prime minister's 22 March speech on the digital future, Socitm argued that, while national standards and infrastructure such as universal superfast broadband can help underpin improvements, the government should concentrate at a local level if it wants to see the greatest gains.
"It is at the local level that many services can reform, collaborate and innovate to deliver the step change in value and cost to the citizens and businesses we serve," the document read.
"These are the changes that feature in an emerging vision for Tomorrow's Public Services, being developed jointly by Socitm with a number of other organisations."
The organisation argued that, although Gordon Brown's speech contained no explicit reference to local public service delivery, it did touch on Socitm's " three actions for locally-driven step change".
These include a renewed focus on the estimated four million digitally excluded citizens, greater collaboration between public, thirdsector and private sector bodies involved in local service delivery, and "innovative and more intelligent use of information and technology".
"The jury is out as to whether the government is ready to step up to the plate by dismembering its centralising tendency for control, while shifting power to the citizen, with all that it entails in terms of information use and the kinds of technologies that can be appropriated to the task," Socitm concluded.
"If it does prove not to be ready, the growing power of the internet to unde rmine and break patterns of centralist control means that we should prepare for this new order in which citizens become genuinely empowered and able to express voice and choice."
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