Concerns over public sector commitment to eGovernment

17 June 2003

A new study on the implementation and progress of the European Computer Driving Licence (ECDL) within local authorities reveals that although authorities are successfully using ECDL to improve employee ICT skills, few recognise it as a strategic issue for the successful delivery of eGovernment.

'Passing the Test: A Snapshot of the ECDL Experience', published by BCS, Socitm Insight (Society for Information Management) and the Improvement and Development Agency, shows that whilst ECDL is seen as a flexible qualification for authority employees to gain core ICT skills, ECDL is started because it is a "good idea" rather than as part of a co-ordinated strategic approach.

Increased productivity and freeing resources were highlighted in the report as being the main advantages for implementing ECDL. It was noted that employees within the NHS save more that 30 minutes a day since adopting ECDL which will undoubtedly have a positive affect on other aspects of their work.

Yet, the report's findings which were based on case study data from 24 local authorities who have implemented ECDL, estimate that between 20,000 and 50,000 employees have completed their first ECDL module. Such figures represent only a small percentage of the workforce in local government that uses ICT as an essential part of its job. Such figures reflect how local government is not maximising the potential of the ECDL qualification.

Pete Bayley, ECDL UK director explains, "Whilst we are extremely pleased that ECDL is being used as the ICT benchmark qualification by local government, the number of passes so far represents only a small percentage of the workforce who use ICT as an essential part of their job. This is in stark contrast to the Italian government for example, who aim to have its entire public sector workforce (over two million employees) ECDL qualified by the end of 2007. To maintain public sector commitment to training employees for eGovernment, it is essential that the momentum for ICT training keeps pace and incorporating ECDL into any organisation will ensure this objective is met."

Copies of 'Passing the Test: A Snapshot of the ECDL Experience' can be purchased from Socitm for £90, email: enquiries@socitm.gov.uk, telephone: 01604 674800.

For further information please contact the BCS Press Office.