English local authorities are increasingly running their schools' ICT services, according to research by Becta. A survey carried out at the start of this year by the education technology organisation found that 28% of councils in England are mainly or solely responsible for providing technical support services to their schools, compared with 14% a year earlier. The proportion where the responsibility is shared between schools and councils dropped from 47% to 32%. Similarly, 48% of authorities are running learning platforms for their schools, compared with 37% in 2007, and 40% of councils have integrated their management information systems with those in schools, up from 28% a year previously.
The Becta report, Harnessing Technology local authorities survey 2008, found that 75% of local authorities have a strategy for ICT for learning in place, with the rest planning one. Councils said the priority areas were personalised learning by means of ICT (72%), ICT supporting pedagogical innovations (55%) and using ICT to support inclusion (41%). 'The task now is to maintain the momentum and ensure local authorities are making the most of the technology available for their learning communities,' said Stephen Crowne, Becta's chief executive.