Lack of staff buy-in hinders public sector IT projects

Public sector IT programmes lack staff buy-in, according to a report from the Work Foundation.

The government is investing heavily, with major IT initiatives in the NHS and the criminal justice system. But researchers at the Work Foundation found marked disparities between the general public’s perception of major government IT projects and those of public sector staff.

According to the report, “there is staff scepticism about the role IT can play in improving public services. Media reports on large-scale IT projects in the public sector tend to be negative, and focus on the problems and ‘wasted’ money”. Meanwhile, successful projects were not celebrated.

The report found that communicating effectively with staff and managing organisational change were among the other challenges facing public sector IT projects.

The Work Foundation said managers should be more aware of how IT can help in their objectives and be able to communicate this to staff. It added that there should be more effective engagement with staff, getting them involved in designing technology and testing ways of working. Staff should also be shown how their input has helped to shape services.

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