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22 September 2016

[email protected]: Government IT goes full circle in the space of 50 years

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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