Pay constraints, inflexible hiring processes and a lack of funds are preventing government CIOs from hiring and keeping the staff they need, according to a report from the National Audit Office.
The survey, presented in a report titled "A Snapshot of Government ICT", asked the CIOs of 17 central government departments about the state of ICT within their department.
The report noted that the government’s ICT strategy, published earlier this month, acknowledges that an over-reliance on consultants and contractors has resulted in high costs and an eroded skill base within government.
"ICT leaders will have to find innovative ways to develop skills to fill roles," the report said. "Government cannot ignore the capability gaps because it is so reliant on ICT to conduct its future business."
The business and technical skills which most CIOs described as being in short supply were supplier management and architecture design and analysis. The report recommended novel training techniques to rebuild the in-house skill base, "including structured on- the-job experience and mentoring". Risk management and IT strategy development were the best represented skills throughout central government.
The report revealed the range of sizes across ICT departments, with over 1,000 staff working in the IT units of the Ministry of Defence; HM Revenue and Customs; and the Department for Work and Pensions. In contrast, the Department for Transport and HM Treasury employ fewer than 50 staff in their IT departments.