Local authorities are largely ignoring the European Computer Driving Licence (ECDL) IT training programme, failing to recognise the role it can play in their e-government plans.
Research conducted jointly by the Society of IT Managers (Socitm), the Improvement and Development Agency and the British Computer Society found that only 28 per cent of local authorities mentioned the ECDL, suggesting that they did not see the role it can play in delivering local e-government.
Martin Greenwood, programme manager at Socitm, expressed his concern that local authorities have failed to adopt the programme, and suggested that the training they currently provide is inadequate.
"There should be a stronger profile for making council employees more competent with IT, and we hope the report will stir councils into action," he said.
"Some sort of national target around the issue of training would be helpful because so far the focus has been on getting services online and on particular technologies. All of this will be no good unless people can use the technology."
Greenwood cited Italy as an example to follow, which plans to have two million public sector workers ECDL qualified by the end of 2007.
Other parts of the public sector have embraced the ECDL qualifications with some success. In the NHS, productivity improvements of at least 30 minutes per person-day have been realised as a result of completing the qualification.
Peter Thomson, policy officer at Wolverhampton City Council, said that councils are getting the message.
Although the local authority has not used the programme up to now, Thompson explained that it is "looking very seriously at using it in the future".
The findings were based on studies of 24 local authorities that have made progress in using ECDL, along with analysis of references made by councils on their use of the ECDL in the second round of Implementing Electronic Government statements.
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