Equality, inclusivity and diversity should extend beyond local government leadership to every tier, department and function in their organisations and across the places in which they operate in order to make digital transformation achievable.
That’s the strong call from Socitm this week, which argues that “equality of opportunity and inclusivity of diverse backgrounds, mindsets, beliefs and experiences” bring with them “new ideas, new energy, new understanding and new innovative approaches” that can cut across the silos of government and preordained organisational boundaries to “focus on outcomes that matter to people in the places in which they live and work”.
The group, which styles itself as the public sector IT and digital leaders’ organisation, makes the recommendations in a new briefing
for its membership.
The briefing states that in leading, managing, designing and delivering transformed outcomes, local government needs to break free of traditional hierarchical and silo-based thinking and organisation.The briefing states that in leading, managing, designing and delivering transformed outcomes, local government needs to break free of traditional hierarchical and silo-based thinking and organisation.
That would need to translate to traditional culture, beliefs, behaviours and actions needing to be “turned on their heads” – and, it takes pains to state, “no more so than in the digital and IT domains”.
Some of the steps digital and IT leaders should be taking, it believes, include:
- exploring and unlocking opportunities for degree apprenticeships in conjunction with local colleges and universities
- encouraging routes to the top – as in, training, experience, mentoring for those coming from a diverse range of backgrounds
- acting on guidance and good practices • using data to identify performance on equality, inclusivity and diversity.
The study includes case studies of local government organisations it says are going the right way here, such as Essex County Council, whose performance against the five areas defined in the Equality Framework for Government has been rated as “excellent” by the LGA, and Torbay Council, which has been at the forefront of establishing an apprenticeship programme in conjunction with local colleges and Plymouth University.
“Digital technology is now centre stage in enabling transformation, bringing with it far-reaching leadership, cultural and organisational challenges,” notes Martin Ferguson, Socitm’s Director of Policy and Research at Socitm.
“That’s why we’re placing a greater priority on the people and cultural aspects of leading, managing, designing and delivering innovative and transformative change.
“Socitm is making a special call to local government leaders to embrace the issues raised in the briefing and to take action on the recommendations made.
“The time to act is now, if digital and IT are to realise their full potential in transforming local public services.”