Tech Net Zero discovery report – recommendation 5


Recommendation 5 – Support sustainability work across boundaries 

What’s the problem? 

Our research found that reducing duplication and moving towards shared services across the public sector were important ways of reducing emissions.  

Both within and across organisations, teams often are isolated from each other, reducing their ability to reuse work done elsewhere.  

“You need to have the right expertise, the right skills and capabilities in that digital technology space, to be able to architect and design services from the outset that take all this stuff into play. Trying to do that across however many Welsh public sector organisations is 10 times harder than centralising lots of those functions and doing it out of one place”  

Digital and technology lead in central administration

Collaborating on shared delivery models isn’t a new idea (it’s included in Wales’s net zero route map for 2022-2026) but one with a potentially big impact if done well. 

We identified a need for organisations to understand the whole service and system to determine their true impact on carbon emissions. That will often mean working across departmental and organisational boundaries. 

“We need to be looking at doing horizon scanning, looking at what’s working elsewhere, trying to then bring that in to see if it would fit for us”  

Digital and technology lead at a local authority 

Read more in our research findings about this problem: 

Duplication of products and services 

Understand the footprint across the whole service 

Potential solutions 

Our conversations about good practice highlighted the importance of collaboration across teams and services. Improving overall organisational efficiency was seen as essential to going beyond what individual departments within organisations can achieve on their own. 

Using digital efficiently, avoiding duplication across services and reusing solution components, as well as digital data, will be essential. 

Respondents saw this cross-boundary work as largely depending on adopting systems thinking in designing and delivering services. 

Possible approaches to solving this problem might include: 

Next: Make sustainability part of procurement