Local authorities are struggling to gather and monitor data needed for government performance targets because of under-investment in IT.
A poll of 50 public sector finance directors found that while the management decisions of local authority CEOs are strongly influenced by government key performance indicators (KPIs), current IT systems are not effective in sourcing and analysing the information.
Just over half of the finance directors questioned said IT does not deliver all the key financial information they need, while 74 per cent said systems do not deliver the key non-financial information.
And because local authorities base their strategies against these performance indicators, 88 per cent of respondents said this was hampering their ability to receive all the data necessary to effect real change in the performance of their organisations.
Over two-thirds of finance directors said the performance information they did receive was not delivered in a format that enabled them to quickly identify processes that could be changed to improve performance against government KPIs.
The research was carried out by Vanson Bourne for application service provider Netstore. Paul Barry-Walsh, chairman of Netstore, said in a statement that local authorities need to look at cheaper ways of delivering their IT more effectively.
"Local authorities do not have the budget right now to implement wholesale changes in their IT systems. Browser-based technologies have made the delivery of applications by a third party much easier and we see this as the way forward for UK local authorities."