Parliament has begun a recruitment drive for IT professionals, as it gears up to modernise the IT systems behind the Lords and the Commons.
The Parliamentary ICT (Pict) department, created in January this year to consolidate IT across both houses, is looking to hire 50 IT staff to drive the modernisation programme.
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Joan Miller, director of Pict, said, "We are looking for web programmers, people with SQL skills, application and support skills and design skills. We have a lot of programmes and projects to launch, so we also need project management and business management skills."
Pict, the first of a series of departments planned for parliament that will provide services to both houses, brings together nine separate IT departments into a single organisation.
The department has a five-year programme to consolidate more than 200 different applications used in parliament, many of which use highly specialised custom designed software.
Other key projects include the development of advanced internet sites that will help MPs and peers interact directly with the public, the introduction of new hardware and software, and a move towards service oriented architecture.
"We are looking for people with some knowledge of the public sector, but it is not an exclusive requirement," said Miller.
Candidates will need to go through basic security clearances, which can take between a few days and several months to complete. Salaries range from £20,000 to £50,000 a year for managers.
"The houses of parliament have recognised they will get more out of their IT by working together, rather than separately. But it has been a long process to create Pict, because the two houses are very different. This is the first organisation they have established in joint operation," said Miller.