Business Process Reengineering, Information Technology, Public Sector, Organisational Change, Modernising Government.
Public sector organisations in the United Kingdom are increasingly turning to information technology (IT) to comply with central governments modernising government agenda. There is however a need to ensure that the implementation of major IT systems are not seen as an end in themselves but the means to an end of achieving major improvements in performance. This paper proposes that although IT may be an agent for change as it presents opportunities for doing things in different ways, a redesign of business processes must also be undertaken and linked to an IT strategy. IT implementation without such reengineering of processes can fail to deliver anticipated benefits. The paper highlights the links between process reengineering and benchmarking to allow the design of improved processes and considers approaches to BPR which are best suited to the public sector.
A case study in a local authority is used to illustrate the need to link technology with process to bring about major organisational change.
In recent years the public sector has increasingly been under pressure to improve performance driven by a number of central government initiatives such as the Best Value regime and Public Performance Reporting. Added to this pressure is the current Modernising Government agenda or what has become known as information age government or e government. Ambitious targets have been set for electronic service delivery culminating in the goal that all services be available electronically by 2008 (Cabinet Office 1999). Public services do not have the same bottom line aims of the private sector in terms of profit maximisation but it is an over simplification to see the public sector as a pressure free environment. Internal markets and competitive funding have introduced business disciplines and there remains...