Do we want public sector systems to be dependent on companies on other side of the world?

I sometimes publish comments of readers in standalone blog posts but have been a little neglectful of this recently. In an effort to do more of this here is a comment from yesterday to a post I wrote about offshoring public sector IT.

It is a controversial subject in the world of IT and outsourcing.

This came in from Mat X who I presume has worked in public sector IT. Thanks for taking time to comment Mat X.

Public sector outsourcing barely works (if at all) even when all parties are in the same country, speak the same language and understand at least roughly what the government department is all about. So shipping the work offshore is likely to make this situation much worse. Moving government IT work offshore will also have a lot of hidden costs to the UK taxpayer: loss of jobs in the UK, with knock-on effects across communities where public sector employers dominate, loss of opportunities for future IT graduates in the UK, damage to the UK IT skills base etc. None of these will be accounted for when governments claim they are “saving money” through offshoring, but the negative impact on the UK IT industry and tax revenues will be substantial. The bottom line is that UK taxes should be spent to benefit the UK, not India. Moving work offshore also removes skills and understanding of the relevant systems from the UK. Look at RBS for a shining example of what happens when you fire all your experienced staff and move work halfway around the world. Do we really want our critical public sector systems to be dependent on companies on the other side of the world?

What do you think?

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