Wednesday, 20 Mar 2019

Could IT skills shortage scupper UK ambitions for digital public services?

Low pay and a male-dominated sector must be tackled to help the NHS, police and councils bring in vital digital expertise

It has been almost a decade since the government pulled the plug on what would have been the world’s largest civilian computer system. The NHS IT system was meant to create electronic patient records for use across the health service in England, but ended up becoming known as the biggest IT failure ever seen. The project, finally abandoned in 2011, cost taxpayers at least £10bn.

That fiasco shows just how bad things can go – and how big the bill can be – when it comes to digital transformation across the public sector. But with the NHS IT system failure now a distant memory, the UK government has become a leading country in terms of digital innovation. The UK now ranks fourth in the UN’s e-government development index, which measures how countries are using technology to create sustainable, resilient societies.

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