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[email protected]: Government IT goes full circle in the space of 50 years
This article is part of the Computer Weekly issue of 22 September 2016
From in-house to outsourcing back to in-house again, government IT seems to have gone full circle in the past 50 years. While government began to see the value of technology and computers in the 1950s, it wasn’t until Harold Wilson’s Labour government came in to power in 1964 that IT became a crucial part of Whitehall with the establishment of the Ministry of Technology. The Labour Party’s 1964 general election manifesto stated that the ministry would “guide and stimulate a major national effort to bring advanced technology and new processes into industry”. This was the ministry that, led by minister of technology Tony Benn, began the initiative to create a British computer industry with the formation of ICL in 1968. This came about through the merger of International Computers and Tabulators (ICT) with English Electric Computers, which itself had acquired Elliot, Leo and Marconi. In Whitehall, however, the Technical Support Unit, which later became the Central Computer and Telecommunications Agency (CCTA), was the driving force...
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Features in this issue
Launched in 1966 as part of a modernising wave to change British society, Computer Weekly battled for the nation’s industry against the US, and saw IT as an entry ticket to the Common Market
We examine how the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s became an age of great innovation for the British computer industry
Computer Weekly’s journey through 50 years of innovation in technology continues with a look back at the history of the internet and the huge changes it has brought to society
There is a link between the world’s first working computer and the world’s most successful chip: they are both British
From working in statistics departments to becoming a key part of any business transformation – as Computer Weekly gets ready to celebrate its 50th anniversary, we look back at the changing role of IT leaders
As Computer Weekly prepares to celebrate its 50th anniversary this September, we take a look at how government IT has changed over the years