Socitm is calling for a government CIO as part of a new manifesto addressing important IT issues in the public sector.

The public sector IT directors' organisation is launching a “Seven Point Plan for IT in Tomorrow’s Public Services”, which calls for the incoming government to re-realign IT governance, re-think service design and continue to build IT professionalism.

Steve Palmer, Socitm president, said: "At the heart of our Seven Point Plan is a simple mantra – reform, collaborate, innovate.

"It sums up the changes required to address the astonishing shortfall in public sector finances. ICT lies at the heart of any approach to saving money, and that means a new role for technology managers in leading their organisation through these three steps. Our Plan will help define that role."

In order to realign IT governance, the manifesto calls for the appointment of an IT minister and a supporting CIO “in the heart of government” to develop the required frameworks and standards to support new infrastructures such as G-Cloud and the Public Sector Network.

The new CIO would need to reassess process design and deal with the cultural changes that may be needed to enable this. For example, cultural shifts may be required when encouraging people to use IT to support flexible and mobile working, and supporting innovation in systems design.

Socitm said that the government also needs to assure information, which means building security into all levels of systems design and implementation, including people, processes and organisation.

"It is their [information handlers] actions and behaviours that directly impact upon public confidence," said Socitm.

Socitm also believes IT needs to be harnessed to explicitly lower costs in the public service, and that local government should use IT to interact with citizens in an effective and efficient manner.

"Citizens are only interested in the outcome of their interaction with government, so all electronic interactions should be designed from their perspective, not to suit the administrative convenience of the organisation," it said.

Furthermore, Socitm believes that the next government needs to ‘procure intelligently’. This includes creating a market for IT providers that is competitive and accessible to SMEs and smaller, innovative companies. Socitm also suggested that open source IT should be considered in procurement, and that IT contract and spending information should be published as a step towards a level playing field in terms of procurement.

The Conservatives and Liberal Democrats also made similar pledges concerning government IT procurement in their election manifestos.