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Mini-revolt over falling behind with innovation

IT is no different than food, reckon public sector workers, encouraging the Government to buy local and organic to avert past IT disasters, the Social Collaboration and Public Sector study by revealed today.

Most respondents (84%) want to be harsher with IT providers who fail to deliver. They believe that setting project budgets that cannot be deviated from could partially solve the issue. Some respondents commented: ‘if the IT doesn’t work, we simply won’t pay for it.

One third (32.5%) believe the Government’s IT problems could be solved by buying from local, UK-based companies rather than multi-national conglomerates. Respondents to the study encouraged purchasing departments to ‘get better advice before buying’ and ‘not to buy for buying’s sake.’ In addition, more than half of public sector workers (52%) are disappointed with lack of innovation in IT services.

Government IT projects have traditionally been plagued with inefficiencies and overspend, with the latter reported at £2 billion in early April this year*. The study results further support the recent Enterprise Strategy and Budget 2008, which is looking to help more small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) win public sector contracts. The goal is to ensure that SMEs win 30 per cent of all public sector contracts.

“In our experience public sector workers are already leading their private sector counterparts in adopting new technologies - but there is obvious demand to go a lot further,” said Alastair Mitchell, co-founder and CEO at, the social collaboration firm that enables employees to work together both inside and outside their organisations.

“Why buy from a supermarket when fresh produce from local farmers is cheaper and delivered to your door on the hour?” he asked. “There’s enough technology acumen amongst homegrown companies in this country to make a real difference to the Government’s ailing IT.”

In Huddle’s study, public sector workers admitted struggling with existing IT infrastructure. Eighty per cent claimed they received too many emails, while almost a third (26%) could not access information they required to perform their job. A few respondents confessed the majority of their tasks still comprise of managing paper, letters and memos.

Despite social networks such as Facebook banned in more than half of respondents’ organisations (56%), public sector workers are eager to take advantage of it in the workplace. A third (31%) would like to set up a social network for their own local organisation, while 38 per cent would support a government-wide social network.
“IT departments hear ‘Facebook’ and clam up. But there’s more to social networking than just consumer sites.

Public sector workers already know that efficiencies can be made with using collaborative technologies for work, so it’s time that IT heads caught up,” Mitchell said.

The study also highlighted that the Government fails to lead by example in reducing its carbon footprint. Only 15 per cent of respondents believe the Government is doing enough to curb it. Extensive travel to meetings (16%) and slow take-up of video-conferencing (14%) may play a role.

The Social Collaboration in Public Sector study was carried out amongst 202 local authority officials, between 16 and 23 July 2008.

*As reported by The Register

About ( combines unified collaboration with social networking principles. Established in November, 2006, Huddle is based in London, UK. Its customers include MasterCard, John Lewis, Boots and UNICEF. Huddle is also used by a number of government organisations including Department of Culture, Media and Sport, BERR, QIA and DC10, as well as thousands of local authority users.

Huddle is a part of the Government Gateway Alliance Programme. It has been chosen as one of the top 20 UK Web 2.0 companies by Web Mission 2008 sponsored by UK Trade & Investment department and one of 15 top UK start-ups by in 2008. is backed by Eden Ventures Partners.

Huddle is dedicated to the success of local start-up IT companies and leads several initiatives to support the entrepreneurial community. Find out more at

Press contact:

Zuzanna Pasierbinska-Wilson
Tel: +442033553962
Skype: zuzannapw

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