A new survey has revealed that only 17% of UK public sector organisations anticipate a significant IT budget increase this year – despite the fact that 79% expect to invest in new software and licences.

Almost 200 public sector organisations took part in the survey conducted by Centennial Software, which also found that 40% of organisations state that their IT budgets will remain static in the coming year, while 16% actually expect their spending to fall.

Only 34 per cent ranked software compliance and fines as their top worries for the coming year, prioritising staffing and security over such governance issues. As a result Matt Fisher, Centennial Software vice president claimed this betrayed a lack of thorough understanding of what hardware and software is already on the network. “Those in charge of IT spending in the public sector risk having their heads in the clouds,” he said.

Fisher added: “They’re clearly demanding significant network expansion while ignoring potential security, legal and cost-management risks,” against a backdrop where 70% of public sector IT projects are running over time or budget. “How can organisations be expected to update their IT systems within existing budgets when they don’t have the tools to accurately plan?”

Centennial, a developer of IT security and asset management solutions, believes that the public sector can realise significant cost savings and improve IT project management through achieving better visibility of the network.