Councils yet to fully embrace digital government services

New research from OpenText has revealed that UK local authorities are yet to fully embrace digital government services, with more than a quarter of UK citizens still unable to access their own digital records online.

The findings indicate that there is still progress to be made if the UK’s public sector is to meet the goals set out within the government’s recently launched National Data Strategy – an initiative which places data at the heart of the country’s pandemic recovery efforts.

OpenText found that 31 per cent of UK local authorities are unable to confirm exactly how much of the information they store and manage for local citizens is digitalised, with only 11 per cent having fully digitalised all of their citizen records. According to the data, 40 per cent of local authorities have digitalised the majority (76-99 per cent) of the information they store and manage for local citizens.

Additionally, despite remote working being likely to continue for some time, one in ten local authorities still have no plans to implement a content services solution to provide employees with remote access to citizen information. Furthermore, two in five have no plans to implement a content services solution to share information with government agencies and trusted partners, including private healthcare and social care providers.

Tracey Lethbridge, head of UK public sector at OpenText, said: “At a time when local government is working day and night to protect vulnerable citizens from Covid-19, it’s important that they continue to strive for easier and faster ways to share information, both internally with staff and externally with citizens and third-party organisations.

“With an increasing number of employees in the public sector moving to long-term home working, a unified content services platform which stretches across different departments is essential to provide a single point of access for the relevant information and documentation needed to keep vital services running – regardless of where it is and in what form. That’s also true for partners and citizens, as most digital content platforms can integrate with portals or quickly create their own access points to provide third parties with secure access to the information they need.

“Enabling these self-service capabilities will be integral as we look ahead to the UK’s recovery from Covid-19, improving service quality whilst reducing costs. Local government is increasingly being tasked to do more with less – and those that embrace the potential of digital content platforms will be best positioned to support staff, partners and citizens through the turbulent and uncertain times ahead.”