Optimism among public sector IT departments is on the up, with over a quarter of public bodies expecting their IT budgets to soar next year, more than double last year's figure, according to CRN's 2014 Public Sector Report.
In September, CRN surveyed more than 100 senior IT decision makers across local and central government, healthcare, emergency services and education as part of the Public Sector Report. On top of this, we heard back from 125 local councils from across the UK about their IT spending habits after sending them Freedom of Information (FoI) requests.
Of the public sector bodies which responded to the first part of the research, 27 per cent said they expect a budget boost in FY15. Most of those (23 per cent) said they expected their budget to grow between five and 20 per cent and an optimistic fraction (four per cent) forecast increased spending of more than 20 per cent next year.
Last year, our Public Sector Report research found that just 12 per cent of public bodies expected to see their budgets rise in the following year, suggesting there has been a boom in optimism among the country's public bodies.
But not all authorities are getting ready to splash the cash, with 39 per cent of respondents to this year's survey cautiously banking on a similar-sized budget next year. Just less than a quarter (23 per cent) of public bodies we surveyed were bracing themselves for a shrinking budget in FY15, but this figure is down from 44 per cent last year.
Authority to invest
And it appears that what could be the beginning of a trend of IT budgets growing across the whole public sector is already being felt within local councils.
Of the 125 councils which replied to our FoI request within the allotted four-week period and gave us all the information we requested, 56 per cent saw their spending on IT grow in FY14 compared with the year before. Thirty-nine per cent of authorities saw their spending decline over the same period and six per cent of respondents' IT outlay remained the same.
In all, the 125 councils spent a whopping £661.5m on IT in FY14, up a fraction on the year before.
The Public Sector Report provides a full breakdown of the top 60 councils which spent the most on IT in FY14 – including who their suppliers were and how much was spent with each.
The numbers have been crunched to create leader boards which show the top public sector suppliers – both overall and by sector. Spending across the regions has been analysed and the smallest-spending councils' IT budgets have also been put under the microscope for examination. The numbers sit alongside analysis from public sector experts and IT suppliers.
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