Socitm, the local government IT managers’ organisation, has said the initial findings from its long-awaited corporate service review show that it is well positioned to become the professional body for IT across the public sector.

The review, conducted by KPMG, also concluded that Socitm can fulful a “positive lead role” in delivering the government’s IT professionalism agenda.

But to drive these and other agendas Socitm has identified a number of key areas in which it needs to evolve or improve, with sorting out finances top of the organisation’s priority list.

The review makes clear that Socitm “needs to ensure that it can generate sufficient money to pay for current services and future development plans.” It says that options for financial restructuring, efficiencies and a “more appropriate balance between income and expenditure” must be explored as a priority.

The review also highlights the need for Socitm to develop and promote of stronger public vision of its aims and agenda, after the research found that 85% of members were not clear about Socitm’s current strategy.

Lack of strong leadership was also identified by the review as holding Socitm back, with four out of five members voluntarily citing a lack of leadership as the major reason for Socitm’s current problems. The review said “both the day to day activities and future strategic direction of Socitm are being constrained by poor leadership.”

The review also found that a “dysfunctional” governance model was holding back Socitm, with many respondents believing Socitm is currently hamstrung by poor decision-making processes and poor management of services by the corporate team.

The review’s findings have already prompted Socitm to propose a series of changes to its make-up that were recently agreed by a special national council meeting.

Richard Steel, chief information officer at Newhamlocal authority and the incoming president of Socitm, said last week that the plans “mark a major step in the transformation of Socitm from a local government IT managers' association to something that fits with the central status of IT in a modern public sector organisation.”

The review process will now enter its second phase, with Steel charged with developing the organisation’s strategic direction and current president Rose Crozier expected to drive a programme to tackle governance issues.