Half of the UK’s top local councils have no strategy for cloud

Nearly half of the biggest councils in the UK have yet to formulate plans to use cloud computing despite three in four saying they use it in some form, according to new research.

Of the 44% of councils who said they did not have a strategy or IT policy for the use of cloud, just 15% said they are exploring or considering a cloud IT policy.

The findings, which are based on a survey of the UK’s top 100 councils by not-for-profit IT provider Edusery, suggest the majority of councils have yet to get to grips with how cloud can support strategic initiatives such as business transformation, IT cost reduction and service redesign.

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The majority (63%) of the councils said they have two or more on-premise data centres, while a third said they use no external data centres. 

With regard to cloud use, only 10% of councils have moved to a pure cloud IT model and 93% hold all but a negligible amount of data on premise (defined as 10% or less of total data).

“One of the things from the research that we found most concerning is that over a quarter of the councils approached for the survey could not provide a breakdown of where their data was currently held,” said  Andrew Hawkins, public sector director at Eduserv.

“This shows that information management maturity is still relatively low in local government, which needs to be addressed in the move to digital delivery.”

Jos Creese, principal analyst at Eduserv’s local government executive briefing programme, added: “While there is little surprise that only a handful of councils are showing digital maturity in their adoption of cloud services, the fact that such a large number have yet to formalise any sort plan for using cloud IT is of great concern.”

>See also: Councils could unlock £14.7 billion in savings a year through this long-term digital plan

As cloud use becomes more ubiquitous, local authorities will run into challenges if they don’t ensure it is used safely and that data is managed in a way which reduces risk./p>

From a strategic perspective, the prevalence of on-premise IT shows the majority of councils are still poorly positioned to exploit digital change in a way that generates service and financial benefit.

“If councils are to go down this path then it will be critical to address the apparent lack of clarity around where data is stored which emerged from our research,” said Creese.

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Ben Rossi

Ben was Vitesse Media's editorial director, leading content creation and editorial strategy across all Vitesse products, including its market-leading B2B and consumer magazines, websites, research and...

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