Nearly half of NI adults want to use tech more following lockdown

  • Software services firm Civica has released a post-lockdown public survey regarding Northern Ireland’s feelings towards tech during the Covid-19 pandemic.

    The survey found that almost half of Northern Irish adults (49%) say they want to use digital tech more frequently following lockdown and one third of citizens surveyed believe the public sector could make better use of digital technology to enhance their lives.

    The research is revealed in a new Civica Changing Landscape report, ‘Passing the tipping point for digital: the nudge effect of the pandemic.

    It is based on key findings from senior leadership forums and two new sets of research from more than 2,000 citizens across Northern Ireland.

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    The report explores how public sector organisations throughout the region must recognise and capitalise on this digital momentum to re-shape the delivery of public services for the future.

    Findings also showed that almost half (46%) of surveyed citizens believe digital technologies can connect the community or improve the lives of citizens and only 26% claim they trust government services more following the pandemic.

    Mark Owens, managing director at Civica Northern Ireland explained: “This is a comprehensive survey of attitudes to online engagement with public services. It shows that the government can respond in record time to deliver effective software such as the Covid-19 NI symptom tracker information app and recent track and trace version.

    “But we cannot wait for a crisis to deepen before we recognise, we have the technology to give remote access to vital services such as GP appointments, manage socially distanced out-patient services or provide personalised benefits support. Plus, the public is clearly telling us that they want these services online and will use them.”

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    The report also calls for the Northern Ireland government to support affordable and reliable broadband, as well as fast tracking procurement of user-friendly government software and apps.

    Mark added that this will make it easier, particularly for older people, to access the services they need online: “Previous surveys showed slow progress in older generations embracing technology to access public services, but the current pandemic has shown a dramatic change in attitudes.

    “Last year we brought together digital leaders in the public and private sectors to discuss how we could speed-up government and private sector collaboration.

    “Our public sector leaders agreed that more strategic digital programmes were crucial as digital communications are central to our lives. But to successfully lead these, we need collaboration, closer partnerships with digital suppliers and a procurement framework that puts the citizens’ needs above all else.

    “The challenge now is for public and private sector leaders in NI to continue to invest in initiatives designed to meet the growing demand in all areas of life. To support communities, people and employees on the difficult road ahead.”

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    To read more about the new report, please visit www.civica.co.uk/digital-ni-2020.

    About the author

    Niamh is a Sync NI writer with a previous background of working in FinTech and financial crime. She has a special interest in sports and emerging technologies. To connect with Niamh, feel free to send her an email or connect on Twitter.

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