The UK government is failing to appropriately plan for, evaluate and fill key skills gaps in its IT strategy, and is not providing a lasting legacy or demonstrating value for money, according to a six-month review by the National Audit Office (NAO).
The report highlighted some achievements made by the government, such as the adoption of a pragmatic and collaborative approach, and the potential of leadership, governance and compliance mechanisms, but highlighted a number of "significant concerns".
The first is the government's failure to implement a resource plan and map for how and when departments adjust to changes suggested in the strategy.
The second is a lack of capability that comes from not establishing a baseline requirement for IT professional resources across central government, and the fact that key immediate skills gaps have not yet been filled. This means that no amount of planning will help, as the skills are missing to achieve implementation.
The third concern is a decided lack of evaluation of how successfully the strategy is working. Having no clear criteria for measuring business outcomes makes the entire affair somewhat hit and miss, according to the report.
The NAO also identified five other risks associated with the strategy: the slow adaptability of the supplier market; a number of unidentified dependencies between delivery areas slowing down progress; existing contracts delaying or preventing implementation; the lack of a lasting legacy for the public and business; and the failure to measure progress and demonstrate value for money.
Until these issues are resolved, which will be no easy feat, it seems that the government's IT strategy faces an uphill battle to achieve its goals and win widespread support.
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