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UK: Digital Talent Needed to Transform Public Services
Source: publicservice.co.uk
Source Date: Tuesday, October 25, 2011
Focus: Institution and HR Management
Created: Oct 31, 2011

There are not enough people with "deep digital experience" in the public sector and as government makes more of its services digital by default, more world-class digital talent is needed now, a senior civil servant has warned.

Mike Bracken, who was appointed as the government's executive director for digital earlier in 2011 said he had seen "a few raised eyebrows" after getting the go ahead to hire in these "straitened times".

But, writing in a blog for the Government Digital Service, he said there was a need for more digital talent across government.

"In policy, legal, procurement and service delivery, deep digital experience in government is scarce," he said, adding that his recruitment drive should not be seen as a "one-off" campaign.

"The demand for innovation, focus on the user and a move away from long-term, gold-plated IT projects means that a digital generation can transform public services to cater for changing user demand."

But he warned that the reason new talent was needed was down to 15 years of government digital products and services being guided by "risk aversion and long-term programme management".

"Now that it is clear that rapid, user-led development using open source technologies, agile approaches to delivery and cloud-based infrastructure is the order of the day, we find ourselves badly in need of the talent to engineer ourselves out of our torpor," he said.

Bracken said he had already spent large amounts of time trying to transform existing people. But he said it was obvious that more talent was needed, adding that the government was now hiring developers, product managers, interaction designers, web ops people, technology architecture specialists and digital engagement staff.

He insisted that with the lower cost of digital services the new talent would pay for itself many times over.

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