News story

Public sector L&Ds optimistic despite budget cuts

Brighton, UKLearning NewsBrightwave Group

Local government L&D professionals predict more e-learning and collaboration will help cut costs while improving service levels, according to new Brightwave research released today*. The City of Edinburgh Council demonstrates increasing trend and value of e-learning by improving quality and diversity of training and saving £800k.

Two thirds of UK public sector L&D and training professionals expect to improve the level of service they can deliver to their organisations thanks to an increase in e-learning and collaborative working. Today’s research* from e-learning specialists Brightwave found 88% plan to increase their use of e-learning in order to meet new government cost reduction targets. A further 58% predict more collaborative working and 49% will reduce classroom-based training to help cut costs.

Interestingly, the projected increase in the use of e-learning has continued to grow, increasing by 76% since Brightwave started its benchmarking survey nearly two years ago. At the start of 2009 only half of L&Ds expected to increase the use of e-learning , whereas 88% currently anticipate an increase. In addition, more L&Ds expect to collaborate - rising from 42% saying they expect to take this approach in 2009, to nearly 60% who currently expect more collaborative working.

This predicted increase in public sector collaborative working was also uncovered by research from Grant Thornton. The accountancy firm found that almost two thirds (62%) of Chief Executives and Directors in Scottish local authorities think there should be a greater use of shared resources across councils to generate more efficiency.

Charles Gould, Managing Director at Brightwave commented on the research findings: “The age of austerity is clearly having a deep impact on the way we all work, both in the private and public sector. The role and anticipated use of e-learning is growing, but we must be careful not to look at learning technologies as simply a way to cut costs. Quality e-learning initiatives with engaging content that address clear organisational objectives are crucial to delivering real value.

“In fact, many Councils are already working together and building their e-learning services to deliver engaging and effective training. We recently met a number of Scottish Councils in Glasgow for an event on ‘delivering change’. They are embracing this technology and finding ways to collaborate. However, there is an inevitable skills-gap, and many councils are now choosing whether to build their e-learning capabilities internally or use external support to take e-learning to the next level. We want to help them implement the best solution.” Concluded Gould.

A good example of e-learning’s growing importance can be found within the City of Edinburgh Council who contributed to Brightwave’s recent ‘delivering change’ event and have around 17,000 employees. Edinburgh established the City of Edinburgh Council Interactive Learning (CECiL) service four years ago. Using Brightwave’s Local Government E-Learning Service as its platform, CECiL provides online learning 24/7 for all Council employees from any location and it has transformed the way in which the Council approaches and delivers learning and development.

Paul McGhee Leadership and Development Manager at the City of Edinburgh Council says: “Our e-learning platform, CECiL, has substantially reduced the costs in providing training. To date savings have amounted to over £800k. It has enabled high volume training delivery at lower cost and greater speed, facilitated a quicker response to educating policy and procedural change, and improved the quality and diversity of training and development options available. It has also freed up valuable time enabling the corporate learning team to move to a more consultancy led, bespoke service, adding increased value across the organisation.”

Brightwave regularly researches anticipated spending trends in training, learning tools and the use and impact of technology in learning amongst L&D departments in large organisations. For previous benchmarked results, go to

* Brightwave survey polled HR, e-learning and training specialists in local government in September 2010.