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May 26, 2015

Whitehall faces trouble making the most of IT, techUK finds

Civil servants report lack of skill procuring and adapting to computing.

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Three-quarters of civil servants view computing as a necessity for their department, compared to a fifth that see it as a source of innovation.

A mere 1 percent of respondants to the techUK survey were said to see IT as an overhead, though the civil service did report that there were significant problems with procurement and the internal culture’s response to developments in technology.

Julian David, chief executive of techUK said: "Technology has a key role in helping government deliver more for less and it’s great to see such widespread acknowledgement of the benefits technology has to offer."

"However, these results show that there is a greater need for better engagement with industry, better information and more innovation in order to truly transform our public services."

Of the more than 900 surveyed, 71% cited internal culture as one of the biggest barriers to improve adoption of technology within Whitehall, while a mere fifth claimed that their departments had the right skills to manage IT suppliers.

Over a third of civil servants involved in designing or procuring computer systems even said that their department’s ability to change, innovate or adopt technology was unsatisfactory or poor.

Damien Venkatasamy, public sector general manager at IT provider CSC UK&I, said: "Much progress has been made in the approach to digital government over the last five years.

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"This includes the creation of the Government Digital Service as an agent for sparking innovation, easier and faster procurement through G-Cloud, and the opportunities from open data.

"The challenge for the next government is to build on these achievements and deliver truly digital public services, through end-to-end transformation."

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