Government IT

  • Comments posted to this topic are about the item Government IT

  • One of the biggest problems with UK government IT is quite simply the old adage "Pay peanuts, get monkeys". IT staff are paid well below industry rates resulting in higher turnover and good staff moving to industry leaving the less able and the career civil servants to wrap everything in red tape.

    Managers are told not to be hands on, so low grade managers' technical skills lag behind and they don't understand what their staff are doing, yet there are so many tiers of management they have little to do, No wonder projects fail.

    Civil service IT is comfortable but undemanding and I'm looking forward to returning to industry once my children finish school.

  • I agree. I would also say that all the "new" or "innovative" IT projects have gone to external companies (with varying degrees of failure). When you are employed by the civil service or local governnment, you can only sit and watch as highly-paid consultants get to come in and implement a project; and then leave you in the lurch to support it.

    Deeply unrewarding. I just wish some of the money spent on IT projects was instead directed towards employees doing the development, not commercial companies.

  • ‘All government agencies suffer from gaps in knowledge and understanding, and the inability to implement innovative services is holding the government back.’

    I wish I could get this tattoed somewhere on my body.

    I went from government to corporate and will not look back. I will take all the hassles of SOX and working on a financial system over unqualified managers, bad pay, ego, blind ambition and flat out lack of common sense.

    I have seen high priced consultants come in and try and do a quality job but due to the BS they do what they can and milk as much money out of the deal as possible. I really can't blame them because that is normally the only option they have left.

  • Hi Ben,

    Your experiences of the civil service / local government could hardly be different to mine! Although I will agree that many services within our particular council could not see the benefit of improving their IT services, and this did block innovative services from happening. Still, that's all about management buy-in (and other horrible phrases).

    But I cannot agree that buying in consultants, or buying in an external Consulting Company, is the right way to go. If this relationship were to be medium to long term, then maybe (effectively, outsourcing). But where a consultancy is only contracted to provide a specific solution, all they do is meet the minimum spec (if you are lucky).

    This is where "plundering the public sector" (an excellent book, by the way, written by David Craig, recommended reading) comes in, and equates to your "milk as much money". Whatever the reasons, the consultancy should be able to overcome "the BS" and implement the solution they were contracted to supply. If they cannot, then they shouldn't have taken the contract in the first place.

    If the penalty clauses of the contract were better thought out, then maybe consultancies woudn't get away with as much. Or would make heartier efforts to complete the work they were contracted to do.

    But then, workers in the public sector end up spending all their time writing specs and reviewing contracts, managing the consultants. Don't know about you, but I'd rather be solving the problem....

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