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October 31, 2011

ICT sector lacks professionalism: NAO

Cabinet Office has faced difficulties in professionalising ICT and introducing consistency across departments, says report

By CBR Staff Writer

The national Audit Office (NAO) has revealed that lack of professionalism in the government ICT sector has affected government’s performance.

In its report NAO Review: A snapshot of the Government’s ICT profession in 2011, the NAO said that the government is one of the most significant employers of ICT professionals in the UK.

People working in government ICT include change specialists, business strategists and analysts, as well as the more traditional systems architects, software engineers, service managers and database administrators.

ICT professionals are responsible for the continuous design of operating models and business processes to take advantage of rapidly evolving technology. "Successful organisations will typically rely on ICT professionals to support strategic decision-making and the design of new services and not just for applications development and the running of operating systems," said the report.

However, the NAO said that there are several challenges in the ICT profession in the UK. It said the profession is still immature in comparison to traditional professions such as medicine, law or accountancy and rapidly changing.

"There is no core set of recognised qualifications, no regulating professional body and a very wide variety of entry points to the profession. It is also broadening as technology develops," said the report.

It also revealed that the "Cabinet Office has faced difficulties in professionalising ICT and introducing consistency across departments. There has been no mandate to implement the skills framework and progress has been slow.

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"The lack of management information on the real status and future needs of the profession has not helped to develop a compelling case for change or investment in the profession."

The NAO added, "This has adversely affected government’s performance as an intelligent customer of complex ICT and has not helped successful delivery of new public services or large-scale business change."

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