If you read the report submitted by Public Administration Select Committee one can conclude that, your nanny knows more than Whitehall about technology; at least it seems so. The report concludes that the government has wasted a significant amount of money of the common man on IT. The report enlists the foolish recklessness of the government, with which all of us are so familiar, to the extent that for each desktop in the government departments, on an average, £3,500 have been spent. Not only this, the tales of this wastefulness of the Government is further orchestrated by the fact that Whitehall Departments have ended up paying ten times more than the private sector for the similar IT systems.
The solution for this, as stated by the report, is that the Government needs to improve its IT skills otherwise it will keep facing the Oligopoly of the major eighteen tech suppliers of the Government. If the same would have happened in the private sector, some CEO or CFO would have been in the line of the nearest job centre. But with the public sector, all we can expect is a little shrug of the shoulders. If we look at the shelves of the Westminster cupboard IT skills are a rare entity. The years of outsourcing of tech roles to the private sector has slowly and steadily has taken away all the in-house tech expertise. This can be seen for the results of the survey done in which 84 % of the civil servants accepted that they don’t have ample amount of tech skills to do their job.
If it is the skills of the employees that are required to avert further such mishaps then we should be prepared for much more to come. The pace of the training in the government is slower than that of a snail. Since 2008 the technology in business fast stream programme has spent three years and has been able to place only 47 staff into various departments is laughable. Other solution is of bringing in tech skills from the outside i.e. form the private sector. But in the era of pension cuts and pay freezes no sane person will leave the job at private sector and join the government. This leaves the government at the mercy of the same private sector advisors and companies that have lead it to this stage.
Whitehall claims to have control over this phenomenon but as is evident, the civil servants with zero IT skills don’t even know which way is forward, there is no hope in near future.