Government needs more specialist IT staff, says Martin Read

Martin Read, the government's efficiency advisor at the Cabinet Office, has said more money should be spent on public sector IT staff.

Martin Read, the government's efficiency advisor at the Cabinet Office, has said more money should be spent on public sector IT staff.

Read told Computer Weekly in an exclusive interview that some areas of in-house IT staff need to be increased to save money and efficiently deliver IT contracts.

"The government has started to improve the capacity on its commercial functions in departments, but this does need to be continued. It shouldn't be in a position where it doesn't strengthen the areas that need to be strengthened.

"There has been a general reduction in IT staff, but some areas will need to be beefed up. One has to be measured about the way to do it, but I'm quite clear that strengthening commercial functions is the best way to save money," he said.

Read's comments follow the advice given by public sector IT experts that more money should be spent on in-house IT staff to avoid project failures.

Speaking at a Public Accounts Committee on effectively using IT, professor Helen Margetts, from the Oxford Internet Institute, said a lack of in-house expertise was a serious problem in the public sector.

More specialist staff are needed to oversee contracts and step in before contracts go off track, she said.

"You can only get that by recognising the need for expertise in-house and not saying that we have outsourced and so we do not need those skills anymore.

"If you want to innovate with outsourcers you have to have a different relation and significant capacity in-house. It needs to be collaborative and flexible on both sides," she said.


Martin Read will be speaking at the Public Sector Efficiency Expo on 16th March 2011.

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