It's time for the public sector CIO to step forward. No matter who wins next year's election, CIOs in the public sector have a real opportunity to modernise public services through their knowledge and vision of how technology and change management can reshape organisations. 

Last week speeches by current chancellor of the exchequer Alistair Darling and likely next PM David Cameron point to the much reduced budgets that the public sector will  have available to it.

Whilst Cameron, as expected of a Conservative government, will axe services and drastically cut the funds available to civil servants, Darling also said in a speech that  resources will be shifted and "It means more efficiency, continuing to reform, cutting costs, public and private sectors working together," he told the BBC.

The business of government must continue though, so whichever party wins the election, they will, by necessity have to continue with the agenda of reform that has been coursing through the civil service since a youthful looking Tony Blair took office in 1997.

Here is the opportunity for the public sector CIO. Web enabled services and increased automation will improve the general public's experience of the civil service and reduce costs.

There is already evidence of this at departments like the DVLA and even HMRC, although it is well documented that new CIO Phil Pavitt will have plenty else to reform there.

It's common place in the media to knock the IT programme that the NHS is undergoing and there is little doubt that there are problems with it that need closer inspection, but I'll stick my neck out and claim it will be considered in the fullness of time a significant benefit to the nation.

For a CIO looking for a real challenge, the next couple of years in the public sector could well be the ultimate challenge in achieve large-scale change on a limited budget. If, as expected, Cameron wins, the CIOs and senior civil servants that can carry out reform at the same time as achieving the swingeing cuts Tories demand will have, in effect, achieved the impossible.