Developments in technology are forcing change on the way public bodies operate and deliver services, but digital preparedness presents challenges for finance teams and requires effective leadership, organisational engagement, and insightful risk management, according to a new report by CIPFA, the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy and Eduserv, the not-for-profit technology advisors.
The joint publication, Finance’s Role in Public Sector Transformation, sets out the key steps to ensuring the readiness of public bodies, so that they not only achieve the benefits of new technologies, but also understand the risks.
The publication is the result of a series of round tables and a survey that CIPFA and Eduserv ran involving over 230 public sector finance professionals and which examined the role of finance teams in enacting digital transformation across public bodies. This research show that while the majority of organisations recognise the need to transform digitally, significant challenges remain in place, including legacy IT systems, staff IT capabilities and capacities, along with financial constraints.
Successful digital transformation depends on a combination of effective digital leadership, wider organisation engagement, insightful risk management and a joint approach across professional areas to remove obstacles that inhibit change.
Jude Sheeran, Eduserv CEO, said: “Finance leaders should be at the very heart of digital programme management and wider transformation. However, they should not be expected to be experts in digital technology, in the same way that technologists rarely build their careers by focusing on business and finance.
“Our research shows that finance professionals see a priority in forming partnerships with IT leaders and the corporate leadership team. Through the resulting convergence of business and technology, we hope to see dramatic improvements in the relevance, quality and cost of public services at the dawn of a truly digital age.”
Rob Whiteman, CIPFA CEO, said: “Digital technology is advancing at an increasingly rapid pace and public service providers must adapt to and adopt these changes if they are to remain relevant, optimal and sustainable.
“For public bodies, digital transformation is more than a revamped website, unified communications, a new CRM system, a Facebook profile or giving employees iPads. It’s fundamentally changing the way that organisations design and deliver services and how they operate internally.”
To read the report, click here.
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Eduserv is a trusted technology advisor and ally of public and third sector organisations, specialising in public cloud consultancy, migration and management in partnership with Microsoft and AWS.
We provide best-in-class technology advice, engineering and support. We work as part of your team, align our values with yours and transfer knowledge at every step. We are distinctive because as a not-for-profit we can be an allied technology partner: free to reinvest our profits back into the communities we earn them in.
Our clients include The Samaritans, Bristol City Council, Ofsted and Cheltenham Borough Homes.
CIPFA is the professional body for people in public finance. It represents approximately 14,000 members who are public finance leaders and officials in the United Kingdom and overseas, specialising in high quality public financial management and governance for organisations in, and providing support to, government and public services. Its members work throughout the public sector, in national audit agencies, in major accountancy firms, and in other public and private sector bodies where public money needs to be effectively and efficiently managed. As the world’s only professional accountancy body to specialise in public services, CIPFA’s portfolio of qualifications is the foundation for a career in public finance. It also champions high performance in public services, translating its experience and insight into clear advice and practical services. Globally, CIPFA shows the way in public finance by standing up for sound public financial management and good governance.
The Institute’s aim is to offer reassurance to councils who are financially stable as well noting where some authorities can improve their financial resilience.