Socitm Spring Conference

Friday 29th April 2016 •
Billy Law-Bregan, Communications Officer

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At the Socitm Spring Conference, we discovered that some public sector organisations are ahead of the game on digital working. As a result, they are improving their services to their citizens. One great example is how the Estonian Government, which offers 99% of public services online, has improved in its ability to deliver services to the taxpayer. For example, it only takes Estonian citizens 2 minutes to renew a driving licence or 3 minutes to submit a tax return.

This has also helped their healthcare system——hospital waiting lists have dropped by 30%. Moreover, e-prescriptions are available after a short phone call with the GP.

UK public sector services are not yet using technology to this extent but are on the right path. Now, UK taxpayers can do more paperwork via online portals. Also, more GPs are offering online services, like booking appointments or ordering prescriptions.

Other examples we discovered that are helping digital transformation within the government were apps that can improve public sector employee productivity and Virtual Desktops Infrastructure that enable workforces to stay connected. This desktop transformation enables mobility while having access to many resources, and delivers tangible financial, productivity, and security benefits. Thus, there is a possibility of saving 20% of time that can be dedicated to other activities that will benefit the citizens.

Thus, there is a possibility of saving 20% of time that can be dedicated to other activities that will benefit the citizens.

During the day, many different council representatives took to the stage to share their experiences and their current strategies to improve the outcomes delivered to the taxpayer. For instance, Southend-on-Sea Borough Council encouraged the audience to put the citizen at the centre of their thinking and focus on the business needs to deliver a smart city. In the same vein, Leeds City Council focused on delivering outcomes instead of services, to deliver true health and social care integration.

Other talks discussed the challenges that face local authorities with more than 300 core systems, underpinning the need for integrated digital platforms.

Whilst the talks took place, we noticed that there was a recurring topic: the challenge of getting staff members to use technology and to understand the difference between change and transformation.

Finally, there was an interactive voting session where delegates were asked to think about some of the issues dominating the debate in IT.

Some of the results were:

  • Open data is the most significant window of opportunity when it comes to stimulating economic growth to public sector led digital initiatives.
  • Local government should focus on its attempts to foster collaboration in healthcare.
  • Public-sector organisations feel that they are prepared for cyber-attacks.

In conclusion, it was a great event, with a lot of positive insights in to the digital transformation going on within the public sector. The Cloud First policy has also encouraged the local governments to undertake digital transformation by adopting cloud technology and transferring their infrastructure to specialised and secure Data Centres. However, the biggest challenge for local governments seems to be user buy in. That is, convincing staff members, and other users, to embrace technology.

Only time will tell.


At Node4, security is a main priority.

So, we are hosting a free event, “Cyber Security – the evolving threat landscape” on May 18th at the Covent Garden Hotel, London.

This event will give you the chance to pick the brains of Node4 security specialists, leading technology industry experts, and get tips on securing your data.

Register HERE to secure one of the limited spaces.

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