UK Government Needs 2,800 Extra Digital Staff

According to the head of the National Audit Office (NAO) the UK government needs to recruit 2,800 staff to meet demand for digital skills over the next five years.

NAO chief, Amyas Morse, said the Civil Service is “over-committed” due to £405bn of major projects being currently under way. He said a “digital capability” gap will cost hundreds of millions of pounds to address.

Morse said: “When it comes to skills, today's civil service needs people who can carry out highly technical projects with large digital and behavioural change components.

“Government needs to find around 2,800 staff with the digital skills to undertake its digital change projects over the next five years. If Government managed to employ all of the digital specialists required as permanent civil servants, it would cost £213m to fill the gap. And it would be roughly double that in contract labour.”

Morse has called on the Government to cut back on the number of major projects and to prioritise which need to be completed – especially with the extra workload ahead from negotiating the UK’s exit from the European Union.

Morse added: “If we are over-committed, we need to lighten the load – and that means stopping doing things. This can be done by not adding projects, or by cancelling existing ones.

“Prioritising is about making these choices intelligently. So we need to know how much scarce resource would be released by a particular decision and what consequences that decision would have elsewhere. Departments should routinely keep track of these priorities and recognise wider government needs when called on.”

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