Survey finds digital skills gap present in UK Government

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8th January 2016 12:25 - Central Government

The National Audit Office has revealed in a recent research report that there is a digital skills gap present within the UK Government, in Survey finds digital skills gap present in UK GovernmentGovernment departments and arm’s length bodies.

The reseachers surveyed 36 digital leaders from central Government departments and arm’s length bodies and discovered that many of the organisations did not have board members with skills in IT or digital strategies and operations.

The respondents of the survey included Chief Information Officers, Chief Digital Officers and Chief Technology Officers from within Government agencies or departments.

The National Audit Office’s report reveals that 10 per cent of Government agencies or departments have a member of their main board with three or more years’ experience in IT or digital strategies. As well as this, the respondents said that just 6 per cent of the employees in their organisations have technology or digital skills.

The respondents of the survey said that the skills needed in areas such as cyber security, data analytics, commercial and procurement and agile development are not met by current employees.

According to the research report, the Government’s digital leaders expect government departments and agencies to take part in more partnership arrangements with external organisations to take advantage of external enterprise.

The biggest barriers against the development of technology and digital skills of staff that exist in UK Government are limited budget and the organisational culture. Other barriers identified were: salary restrictions, the recruitment process for the civil service and external market factors such as demand, scarcity and competition.

The National Audit Office said of the research findings:

"To achieve major cost savings, government will require radical new ways of delivering public services. New technology and service ‘front ends’ play a role, but change must be more fundamental, involving radical and flexible operating models, designed around users and data. This ‘digital transformation’ means government needs the digital and technology (DaT) profession to have business change skills, as well as IT, technology and data."

"There is limited supply of digital skills in the private, as well as public and third sectors. Combined with government funding and pay pressures, there is widespread acknowledgement of the digital skills gap and challenges of filling it, particularly in specialist areas such as cyber security and data analytics."

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