IT management still causing public sector difficulties, says Audit Scotland

The Scottish government and other central government bodies are struggling to manage IT programmes, according to a report by Audit Scotland.

The report charts the progress of the Scottish public sector since Audit Scotland published a report in August 2012, which had made recommendation on improving IT contract management.

Audit Scotland found that a lack of digital skills in the public sector is still causing issues and that the Scottish government had no carried out a sector-wide skills assessment until August 2014.

However, the government now has plans to develop a Digital Transformation Service to improve digital skills across central government.

Furthermore, the report highlights how the Scottish government introduced an assurance framework in February 2013 to support IT programmes, but this was not sufficiently clear and lacked oversight from central government.

Audit Scotland recommends that although there are revised framework and governance arrangements, these require “careful management and strong leadership if they are to be effective.”

Caroline Gardner, Auditor General for Scotland, said: “When managed effectively, ICT programmes have the power to transform public services, and make a real and positive difference to people’s lives.

However, the difficulties in managing ICT programmes in both the public and private sector are well documented, and remain a complex challenge for the Scottish Government and central government bodies.

While steps have been taken to improve, and overcome obstacles such as the shortage of ICT skills in the public sector, today’s report shows that significant progress is still needed.”

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