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Government Needs Extra Digital Staff

Government Needs Extra Digital Staff

According to the National Audit Office (NAO) the current skills shortage means the government will need to spend up to £244m annually on staff in digital roles.

A report from the NAO on capability in the civil service found that the government’s plans to address the skills gap are “not keeping pace with the growth of challenges the civil service faces”.

The report said departments would need around 2,000 additional staff in digital roles, which the NAO estimates will cost £145m a year.

The report said: “The Government Digital Service (GDS) and Infrastructure and Projects Authority (IPA) believe shortages for digital and project delivery skills will be far greater, particularly given the range of transformation and digital projects ahead.

“Senior officials with responsibility for digital skills told us the extent of the capacity gaps that departments reported to us underestimates the scale of the capability problem."

The government has been widely reliant on contractors across departments, particularly in digital roles. Another issue is that government departments have long been reliant on large scale IT outsourcing contracts, which means that in-house skills have taken a hit.

The report added: “Departments face a twin challenge of adopting new digital technologies and ways of working while building in-house IT capability that until recently were mostly outsourced.”It also said in order to meet the requirements “the civil service will need to recruit skills from outside the public sector.” 

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