Civil Servants Concerned By Lack Of IT Skills

May 27, 2015

A poll of civil servants has revealed that although they feel IT is essential, they are concerned their Departments lack the skills and culture needed for successful digital transformation.  

Industry body techUK surveyed nearly 1000 civil servants, of which just 1% view IT as an overhead - however, over 75% view it as a necessity.  

Despite modern technology being viewed as essential, the research revealed there are still significant barriers to adoption in the public sector.  

Over two thirds of respondents said that having the right skills internally is critical to improving the procurement process but only 20% said their Department has the right skills and capabilities to manage suppliers.  

"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," claimed techUK CEO Julian David.  

"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. 

"Civil servants' lack of confidence is demonstrated in the focus on getting the best out of existing technologies and approaches rather than seeking to embrace new and disruptive technologies from a range of suppliers," he added.  

Of the civil servants who responded to the survey, 86% said IT suppliers are critical to delivering their Department's business plan and 63% of senior staff view mobility as the greatest way to support efficiency in central government.  

When asked about barriers to proper adoption of modern technology, 71% said internal culture was the biggest problem while over a third believe that their Department's capabilities to change leadership, embrace innovation and digital capability are unsatisfactory or poor.  

More Support For SMEs  

"Government has a vital role as a purchaser to support the growth of small businesses and the wider digital economy," claimed David. 

"Creating a level playing field is critical to delivering more value for the taxpayer. Minister for the Cabinet Office Matthew Hancock has already demonstrated a commitment to digital and we look forward to working with him and the Government Digital Service to build on the successes of the last five years to help develop a civil services that is more open, innovative and collaborative," he added.  

Just 19% of civil servants said they felt they had access to a wide range of suppliers and 33% said they were unsure whether their Department wanted to procure more from SMEs.  



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