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IT contractors sought to fill major government digital skills gaps


IT contractors sought to fill major government digital skills gaps A recent report by the National Audit Office warned that the government risked being unable to take advantage of the opportunities of the digital era due to major skills gaps in civil service capabilities.

The ‘Capability in the civil service’ highlighted three main areas of concern where shortfalls in talent were seen to be causing significant issues: commercial, project delivery and digital skills.

The ongoing shift to digital has simplified many areas of government operations, but it has also led to an increased demand for skills that were already in short supply.

Estimates show that the civil service will need an additional 2,000 people in digital roles by 2022, with the Government Digital Service estimating the figure to be even greater.

There is a drive to bring government IT jobs back in house, but this is a lengthy process and risks limiting the talent pool available. Consequently. Contractors are increasingly being brought in to plug these gaps.

Civica Digital Managing Director, Chris Doutney, commented: "The NAO report highlighted the calls for ‘greater urgency’ from government and suggests that it doesn’t have sufficient understanding of how the private sector can supply the skills it lacks. Transformation projects need people with specialist skills and real-world experience, who are often rare and in-demand. And we don’t just need technical skills and experience. Effective service transformation programmes require an understanding of people, business process and the process of change itself.

"The real answer to the challenge is that the civil service needs to maintain a collaborative approach with the private sector, to access the skills and resources it needs for continued digital change".
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