Feeds

LibDems call for gov 'IT skills' office

Policy paper suggests senior civil servants don't 'get' IT

High performance access to file storage

The Liberal Democrats have said the government should set up a new office to promote IT skills throughout Whitehall, in an effort to fill the "skills gap" in the sector.

The proposal is one of a number in a new paper, Preparing the Ground: Stimulating Growth in the Digital Economy, which outlines the party's position on IT policy for the public and private sectors.

It says that with a few exceptions ministers and senior civil servants do not "get" IT or understand the implications of their technology based decisions. "The evidence we received from key figures suggested that the gap in skills across government and the civil service is now so severe that major action is necessary," it says.

To overcome this, the paper says, the government should set up an office that takes in the work of its chief information officer and is staffed with experts to advise other departments of how IT could improve efficiency and the quality of services, and encourage online engagement with the public.

The office would have responsibility for procurement policy and oversight of all major IT contracts across government, a move the paper says would promote interconnectivity. It would also provide support with the relevant project management techniques.

It also calls for all civil service and local government managers above a certain grade to receive training, which should be refreshed annually, in the impact of IT.

The paper also supports the wider use of open source by the public sector, but says the government should not establish rules but act as a "nexus of information, doing good work in telling people 'these are the solutions we've found to work'".

It proposes that the government should support open-source community websites that provide services to a similar or better standard than publicly funded sites, and that it should consider providing resources to their creators. This would be better than trying to replicate the work.

It should also ensure that it owns the code it has paid for, and share it for free within the public sector. There is also scope for collaborative development of open source solutions.

Another recommendation is that all government data should be consistent with a single, interoperable open standards framework, with no restrictions on the development and use of applications to produce information from the data. There should also be an assumption that public non-personal data belongs to the nation and should be freely available.

But it also returns to traditional Liberal Democrat concerns about government's use of personal data, saying that any held by a department should not be accessed by others without adhering to established security protocols and standards. In addition, the government should adopt a central principle that data should belong to the individual to whom it refers, unless it relates to national security or policing. ®

This article was originally published at Guardian Government Computing.

Guardian Government Computing is a business division of Guardian Professional, and covers the latest news and analysis of public sector technology. For updates on public sector IT, join the Government Computing Network here.

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Android engineer: We DIDN'T copy Apple OR follow Samsung's orders
Veep testifies for Samsung during Apple patent trial
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Did a date calculation bug just cost hard-up Co-op Bank £110m?
And just when Brit banking org needs £400m to stay afloat
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
German space centre endures cyber attack
Chinese code retrieved but NSA hack not ruled out
EFF: Feds plan to put 52 MILLION FACES into recognition database
System would identify faces as part of biometrics collection
Big Content goes after Kim Dotcom
Six studios sling sueballs at dead download destination
Ex-Tony Blair adviser is new top boss at UK spy-hive GCHQ
Robert Hannigan to replace Sir Iain Lobban in the autumn
Alphadex fires back at British Gas with overcharging allegation
Brit colo outfit says it paid for 347KVA, has been charged for 1940KVA
Jack the RIPA: Blighty cops ignore law, retain innocents' comms data
Prime minister: Nothing to see here, go about your business
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
HP ArcSight ESM solution helps Finansbank
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.