Civica plc says that local government should place greater emphasis on streamlining overall business-process costs rather than taking a more narrow view of reducing ICT expenditure ahead of anticipated tougher targets in the 2007 spending review.
 
Commenting on SOCITM's IT Trends survey which points to a fall in ICT spending, David Roots, Civica’ UK managing director, said: “Despite the public sector’s considerable success in achieving efficiencies in recent years, there needs to be a sustained high-level focus on the virtue of re-engineering processes to combine front line service improvement with back office efficiency and savings. This wider focus will deliver the overall operational efficiency desired by local government.”
 
“Whilst public sector expenditure on ICT continues to be squeezed in line with budgets as departments seek to achieve savings, those programmes which identify strategic-level process improvements present a far more compelling business case for funding support. These process-led projects are driving ICT expenditure in the longer term, especially in key areas of workflow, document and information management.”
 
Roots continued: “Our involvement in service transformations at Liverpool City Council and City of Edinburgh Council shows the progress that local authorities are making in establishing authority-wide service platforms. We are also seeing smaller local authorities successfully adopting “invest to save” strategies with innovations such as shared services bringing operational and procurement cost savings.”
 
He added: “The pressures are immense, but public sector executives must resist the temptation to focus narrowly on short term efficiency and make overall business process costs their mantra this year. This high-level approach is essential to balance the demands of the Government’s service transformation vision and the rigours of the 2007 spending review.”