Central government chief information officers (CIOs) are concerned about skills shortages as they struggle to retain enough talented staff in the face of pay freezes and recruitment cuts.
A survey of 17 IT chiefs at the highest levels of government by the National Audit Office (NAO) identified several key areas where staff numbers and capabilities need improving.
These include architecture analysis and design, information security and business analysis on the technical side, while on the management side more staff with skills for managing contractors and stakeholders are required.
The CIOs highlighted a number of obstacles in rectifying these skills shortages, including public sector pay constraints, the inflexible nature of the Civil Service recruitment system and a lack of skilled workers in the market.
However, the NAO warned that government IT departments need to find innovative ways to overcome these shortages as spending cuts continue.
"While the challenging economic climate makes establishing a profession more difficult, the government cannot ignore the capability gaps because it is so reliant on ICT to conduct its future business," the report said.
"Greater collaboration across departments and with suppliers might help to make optimum use of the skills that the profession already has to offer."
Despite this, the NAO urged those in senior positions to keep staff motivated and push hard to make their voices heard within their department.
"CIOs need to continue to reinforce their standing in departments, ideally by sitting on departmental boards or, if this is not appropriate, finding other ways to develop their influence so that ICT is properly included in strategic and business decisions," the report said.
"ICT leaders need to dig deep to manage their teams whether in development projects, service management or operations."
Despite spending cuts across the public sector, the government claimed that it is working to attract and retain enough highly skilled IT workers to protect the nation's technology infrastructure, as cyber warfare threats increase.
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