Shared services and outsourcing taking its toll on public sector IT jobs

Public sector IT professionals have had a bad couple of years. Government spending cuts have hit them really hard. Local government IT workers in particular.

Socitm has just announced that last year saw the largest cut in IT staff in local government for 25 years with 5,000 employees losing their jobs.

The fall has been the result of jobs being outsourced, whether it is through shared services, direct outsourcing to a supplier or the increased use of contractors.

Surely it will get worse as more local authorities move to shared services. I say this because the first round of shared services usually retain the staff, but as other clients are added they need less new people.

The Socitm report found that the top areas of efficiency programmes in 2012 will be shared services and self-service. Web-delivered services and information governance are also playing an important role, it said.

Geoff Connell, divisional director of ICT at Newham Council, which has joined services with neighbouring borough of Havering agrees shared services will continue to be an important vehicle for cutting costs.

“Some organisations may look at outsourcing as an option. Personally I feel there are greater savings and more flexibility in sharing services ourselves. And doing joint procure in certain areas also aggregates costs,” he said.

“The good news from my perspective is that with having two ICT teams we have been able to minimise the overall impact of job cuts. The headcount would have been reduced regardless” he added.