No contemporary examination of digital trends could omit the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. However, Socitm’s perspective goes further, identifying key trends that lie in the spaces between different technologies and how these will affect the public sector.
Distinctive in its focus on ‘place-shaping’ – delivering meaningful outcomes for people, communities, and their environments enabled by effective, local public services – their digital trends policy briefing takes a different slant this year.
They are predicting, for example, a much greater focus on interoperability, systems integration, and exploitation of opportunities arising from a growth in processing power, coupled with harnessing data and new tools to unlock opportunities that lie within our communities.
Report author and Socitm associate director Jos Creese, identifies three main tasks for digital stakeholders within the public sector this year.
- Prioritising place-based technology infrastructure to support new ways of working and integrated services.
- Understanding the broader context for digital change, including building knowledge in areas such as data ethics.
- Developing new collaborative networks, directly between public service and citizens.
Socitm president Sam Smith said: “We are delighted to officially launch this report today. It is not only an important piece of research for Socitm and our members, but also the wider public sector.
“Whilst the pandemic has increased public awareness of the key role local government must play in response, the next step is to tackle the deep-seated problems facing communities, being brave and implementing new digital approaches. These are covered in detail in this briefing, and I encourage colleagues across the public sector to take some time to digest the findings”.
Supported throughout with key messages and graphics, the easy to digest document also acts as a comprehensive review of the current and future operating environment for all those involved in digital public service.
Director of policy and research at Socitm, Martin Ferguson, added: “Normalising new ways of working with the digital infrastructure to connect employees; designing services in favour of digital delivery blended with non-digital for those who need it; and reconfiguring digital and IT strategies to be place-based rather than organisation-centric, all feature in our briefing. The opportunities presented by digital trends in 2022 will appeal to all those with a stake in regenerating public services and creating thriving communities – employees, citizens, digital leaders and policy makers alike – as they face up to the extreme challenges facing the public sector”.
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