The drive to increase productivity is the number one concern for government organisations, according to Telstra’s Government Productivity Report.
The report, which surveyed 200 government executives across federal, state and local levels, found that productivity (ranked by 84 per cent as a priority) outranked delivering better front line services (73 per cent), reducing costs (67 per cent), risk management (61 per cent) and attracting and retaining staff (57 per cent) as priorities.
According to the report, the result showed the important role productivity plays in government agencies as they seek to deliver high-quality services within budget.
“Federal Government places the highest emphasis on improving productivity, with reducing costs also a notably higher priority than their counterparts in State and Local Government,” the report reads. “By contrast, State Government and Statutory Organisations place greater emphasis on service delivery, with delivering better frontline services the greater priority.”
According to the report, while 74 per cent of organisations claimed to measure productivity within their organisation, only 40 per cent had demonstrable measures for productivity.
“This means that 60 per cent of government organisations either do not set specific targets, or have specific targets but don’t know what they are; or they simply do not measure productivity at all within their organisation,” the report reads. “There is clearly a productivity gap: A disconnect between expectations and actions. Closing this gap presents a great productivity opportunity.”
The report found that a large percentage of government organisations wanted to use new products or technologies to improve productivity, efficiency and performance, but were constrained by limited budgets.
“Cost is far and away the most significant barrier to adoption of ICT, with over half (55 per cent) of the government organisations seeing this as a large barrier,” the report reads.
Issues of change related to technology implementation were also significant barriers to uptake with 37 per cent of executives considering the complexity of managing change a barrier alongside the challenges of cultural inertia (36 per cent).
Some 55 per cent of government decision makers viewed investment in ICT as an important driver in improving in productivity, efficiency and performance within their organisation, the report found.
By contrast, 42 per cent saw investment in staff training or investment in process improvement as a driver. About 21 per cent saw investment in technology other than ICT as a driver for productivity improvements.
“Across the various government organisations, Statutory Organisations are more likely to consider investment in ICT as having a significant role in improved productivity in their organisation over the past few years,” the report reads.
Sixty-five per cent of Statutory Organisations consider ICT investment had played a significant role in improving their productivity over the past few years, whereas only 52 per cent of Federal Government organisations share this view, the report found.
“Those organisations that place greater emphasis on improving productivity are more likely to agree that investment in ICT has led to an improvement. Even within those organisations that rate improving productivity as a low priority, around half see ICT as playing a significant role in productivity improvements over the past few years,” the report reads.