The public sector IT skills crisis shows no sign of improving and is in danger of getting worse.
The CCTA's second annual survey of IT skills in public sector organisations, published this week, reveals that the majority continue to face alarming difficulties in recruiting and retaining IT staff with the right calibre and expertise.
Bob Assirati, chief executive of the CCTA, said: "The fact that the situation hasn't improved should raise some alarm bells."
He added: "IT continues to play an increasingly important role in combining the departments and services of government, but this can only work if the right people with the right skills are making it happen. With the current speed of development of IT in government, we're in danger of going in the wrong direction."
Some 50 members responded to the survey to determine the principal issues of concern facing IT professionals in the public sector. All sizes of organisation and all sectors of central government were represented.
Andrew Nainby, programme manager, IT skills and personnel issues at the CCTA, said that the public sector organisations are taking steps to address the problem, but warned that there is "no room for complacency or an assumption that the corner has been turned".
Fundamental lessons are not being learned: "Short-term fire fighting is taking precedence over long-term strategic planning," he said.
Staff are not necessarily leaving to join the private sector, but more are moving to other parts of government. This has resulted in a "musical chairs syndrome with no collective benefit and an overall increase in expenditure resulting from stopgap solutions and recruitment costs," said Nainby.
"The need for departments to take a strategic view of IT recruitment and retention remains as urgent as before," he said.
Nainby said that members have expressed four areas for improvement - career development, interesting work, quality of life and better pay, which surprisingly only comes fourth.
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