Tackling the skills and capabilities gap

The majority of non-IT leaders in local authorities say that gaps in IT capabilities are holding them back, according to new research. Is this a looming crisis in the public sector, or a problem of perception?

According to a survey of more than 100 public sector leaders by Eduserv, 74 per cent of non-IT specialists say that there is an IT capability gap which will prevent councils from achieving their strategic objectives, triggering concerns that a skills gap could negatively impact the digital transformation agenda.

But drill deeper, Eduserv’s experts say, and the picture is different. As part of their research they conducted in-depth interviews with IT and business leads in three local authorities, who told them that while the need to recruit for skills in some areas does exist, the bigger need is to change the way IT is structured to support the business.

As Jos Creese, principal analyst for the Eduserv Executive Briefing Programme and former CIO at Hampshire County Council, explained: “The most important thing is to get away from the model where IT simply responds to piecemeal requests from various parts of the business, or where IT is seen as the solution to business problems in its own right.”

The results of Eduserv’s public sector survey on this topic, along with strategic input from business and IT leaders, are available in “Putting IT at the Heart of Local Government Strategy”.

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