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'Digital by default' drives rise in public sector IT consultants
by Susie Hughes at 12:56 07/05/14 (News on Business)
Public sector jobs in IT in the UK have begun to recover as they now account for 11 per cent of all IT consultancy roles, according to recent research.
This contrasts with 2012 when only five per cent of IT roles were created by central and local government.

IT public sector jobs are still a long way short of the pre-general election height of 30 per cent of the total, but there is now a steady upward trend. This may well gather pace as the Government rolls out its ‘digital by default’ strategy. The strategy aims to make all digital services straightforward and convenient so that more members of the public use digital services.

The Government’s austerity programme saw many IT jobs being cut as central and local government and public service providers had their budgets reduced. Projects like the NHS national electronic database and second generation biometric passports were cancelled and the public sector took a series of measures to reduce costs such as shedding staff, introducing recruitment freezes and not replacing staff that had retired or moved into the private sector.

The increase in hiring IT consultants is being partly driven by the Government’s ‘digital by default’ strategy for all public services. This requires greater investment in IT in the short term in order to achieve longer term savings. This increased investment in IT is also partly to restore the public sector’s IT capacity and replace the IT professionals who have moved on to roles elsewhere.

The Government estimates that once their new digital strategy is in place it could save up to £1.8 billion a year.

Part of the plan is to move all government information onto one website – Gov.UK – and ensure that the 650 transactional services the Government provides can be accessed and completed online.

Lisa Mangan, Relationship Manager at Procorre, an international professional services consultancy, said: “The recovery in IT jobs in the public sector demonstrates how critically important IT is in delivering public services.

“The digital by default strategy that the Government has set out will require more IT consultants working on Government contracts, so it is good news for contractors, particularly those who have the right skills and know how to gain access to the most attractive roles.

“Hiring in IT consultants provides employers with the flexibility of bringing in highly skilled professionals for a limited period to ensure the delivery of a project. In the future, we expect more public sector providers to use IT consultants in this way.”

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Susie Hughes © Shout99 2014

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