ForgeAhead Pty. Ltd. reports that it is currently conducting its ICT in local government program in Gauteng, in order to help local government to address the challenges it faces in using ICT to bring about service delivery to the public.
Pierre Venter, head of research at ForgeAhead, says the program, which is run in all nine provinces, involves research into the ICT needs of local government.
"The first phase of the ICT in local government program involves research into the state of ICT in local government. This is done by sending out surveys to local government officials, who fill them out and return them to us," Venter adds.
The aims of the survey include understanding the current use and status of ICT in local government, getting an overview of the ICT infrastructure, understanding the approaches, views and strategies of local government in the use of ICT to enable service delivery as well as identifying key areas of development, challenges and successes, drivers and inhibitors.
Having recently completed the survey process in the Gauteng, Venter says ForgeAhead will now be holding a workshop on the 16th of September for local government officials.
"Members of the local government executives, municipal managers, chief financial officers and ICT managers from the various local authorities are invited to the workshop to discuss the findings of the research and seek solutions to the problems," Venter says.
ForgeAhead says the workshops are meant to make key stakeholders more aware of the use of ICT as an enabler for service delivery, and to give officials the findings of the provincial report. According to ForgeAhead, the workshop will facilitate interaction between government and the ICT industry in order to show what solutions are available, and also to present the current challenges local governments are faced with, and, in so doing, create a forum where local governments can voice the current issues and through discussion find common approaches and share best practices.
Venter says the information that is gathered presents an overview of ICT and is not an in-depth analysis of ICT infrastructure. It is rather focused on identifying the current challenges, successes and future developments.
"The ICT industry does get access to this information, but only to understand the big picture view and the ICT needs of local government. Through this interaction with industry, ForgeAhead creates awareness of these needs, without allowing the private sector to sell solutions to local government that do not solve the issues that it faces," he concludes.