Local government IT spending jumps five per cent

Spending on IT by local authorities is expected to jump by five per cent this year, according to a survey by the Society of IT Management (Socitm).

That would take IT spending in that area of the public sector to 3.2 billion above even the record levels hit in 2005. The survey also suggested more local authorities are planning to increase their IT spending than cut such budgets.

"The 2008 survey shows that ICT in local public services has come through the past 12 months even stronger and more capable than it was in 2007," Socitm president Richard Steel said in a statement. "ICT managers have bigger budgets, more staff and greater influence over the future development of services. The demand for ICT continues to outstrip supply; this remains the big challenge for heads of ICT."

Despite the growth outstripping that predicted for the recession-hit private sector, budgets are still much lower than in commerical firms, Socitm noted.

The Socitm research also showed that staff salaries are the top IT cost, making up 44 per cent of the average budget, followed by external services (13 per cent) and software (12 per cent).