30% feel public sector tech has not worked during lockdown as Brits become increasingly reliant on technology

Lockdown has meant a significant change in the way people are now using technology, with suggestions that these changes will have long-lasting effects.

Since lockdown started, almost three in five people (57%) say they have become increasingly reliant on technology to keep them up to speed with breaking news, 54% for keeping in touch with family, and 44% for paying for goods securely, according to new research by technology consultancy ThoughtWorks.

Younger people were more likely to say they had experienced a change in their technology usage during the lockdown, however, older generations too said they benefitted. The results showed that 53% of people over 65 said they had become more reliant on digital technology to keep them up-to-date with the latest news, while 51% had kept in touch with family members online, and 28% from online shopping.

However, the results also exposed aspects of the digital world that had not worked well during the period of isolation. 30% said they had experienced problems with the technology of public sector organisations during the lockdown, rising to 48% among those under 35. One in seven (14%) said they experienced problems accessing local government information online, while the same proportion (13%) said there were technology problems liaising with their GP, getting advice or help from the NHS, or accessing medical advice online.

David Howell, Portfolio Director – Public Sector at ThoughtWorks, commented: “The isolation era has accelerated people’s daily use of technology to power their lives. In some instances, it has shaped every aspect of their life bringing the future of 2030 forward to today. In turn, this has shaped people’s expectations for the level of personalised and tech-enabled services they now expect. The bar has been raised and it is now up to every business and organisation to meet this.

“We know from our research that appreciation for public services has soared since the outbreak of coronavirus, with many valuing services more now than before. However, this level of appreciation is also coupled with people now believing more investment is required as expectations rise. What is notable from the research is that those with the highest demands and biggest frustrations are tomorrow’s generation. Technology lies at the heart of the ‘new normal’ and it is already obvious that many of the changes that came as a result of the isolation will remain.”