Big Changes Ahead

29th January 2024

This January, we brought together senior leaders from across local government and housing to debate the key GovTech challenges

Civica’s Derek Wise provides a snapshot of the event

Understanding the complex challenges facing the public sector is vital if we’re to bring about positive and lasting change. So it was a real pleasure to meet with leaders across the sector at our latest Leadership Forum in Birmingham to hear more about the shifting landscape and innovation underway.

It was a fascinating insight into the challenges facing the public sector in 2024 and beyond – looking at how national change will impact at a local level – and what this means for the future of our public sector.

From workshops on building financial resilience to shaping more citizen-centric services, attracting talent in the public sector workforce and moving to a more data-driven future – no topic was off limits.

It was clear from the day that everyone agreed that big change is coming in the public sector, whether political, economic or social. Stronger community-led activity will be crucial to this, alongside a consensus that to be more innovative, we may need to take risks. Improved public/private sector collaboration is just one of the ways to drive change, all underpinned by better data.


The Leadership Forum panel (l-r): John O’Halloran (CIPFA), Adam Lent (New Local), Kirsty Mitchell (Skillsminer), Robin Denton (Microsoft), Simon Winkless (PwC) and Derek Wise (Civica)

During our interactive panel session, we asked the audience what they believed were the main factors set to impact organisations most in 2024. More than 44% picked funding and budgetary shifts, with service delivery expectations and workforce challenges also in the top three.

With citizen-centric services in mind, we also questioned what the barriers are to delivering truly citizen-centric services? There were three clear answers; limited coordination across public sector bodies (24%); siloed tech and data systems (23%); and lack of citizen trust (20%). These are obviously not easy fixes. But with the right collaboration between both local public services and external partners we can make positive change.

Digital services need to take a wider, holistic view of citizens in the community. For example, someone in poor housing may have health issues as a result – which in turn effects their participation in the workforce. Data and digital integration will only have a real impact when part of a more fundamental change.

One comment that stood out for me on the day was, "We're currently in A&E, not R&D". While this may sound bleak, the appetite for change is huge.

Now is the time to make small vital changes which will lead us to bigger outcomes for citizens across our communities.

Derek Wise is Chief Product and Technology Officer at Civica

Look out for more Civica Leadership Forum insights this Spring as we discuss the key issues further.

Find out more


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