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A review of the UK Civil Service Digital Skills report

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We’re sure that many of our colleagues in the public sector will not be surprised by the findings of the latest report on how UK civil servants rate their digital skills. We did, however, draw out some interesting conclusions and valuable insights.

The report looked at:

  • Engagement levels of civil servants in driving public sector transformation.
  • Civil servants' understanding of the potential of digital technology for transforming public services.
  • Identification of missing skills and expertise among civil servants across government.
  • Areas in which civil servants seek to develop their own digital skills.

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The UK Civil Service Digital Skills Report, conducted by Google and the Central Digital and Data Office (CDDO), has revealed interesting insights into the government's current state of digital transformation. The report found that 63% of those working in digital transformation believe that legacy technology is a barrier to progress. Additionally, 61% cite funding as a major issue, and 50% say they cannot hire qualified talent.
Procurement also proves to be a significant hindrance, with nearly half (48%) of those involved in Digital, data and technology (DDaT) procurement stating that it is holding them back. Furthermore, 37% of respondents say they have few or no skills in Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), and automation and 39% say the same for cloud technology.

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The report also includes two interesting visuals, one of which highlights the two key actions that departments and organisations should undertake to improve their ability to use technology to innovate and transform public services. These actions include training and development (T&D) and modernisation of equipment and processes. The other visual illustrates the most significant skills gap across the government, which is seen to exist in process automation and AI/ML.

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In light of these findings, it's clear that the skills gap will not change overnight. T&D is a long-term solution, but in the meantime, it's crucial to avoid stagnating growth. We must look towards sustainable tech – future-proof and flexible solutions supporting citizen development. At the same time, technical skills are developed over time. Additionally, legacy technology and processes require modernisation.

While it may not always be possible to completely replace them, interim options are definitely available to drive efficiencies, such as connecting legacy systems and data to create a single view and avoid duplication of effort.

If you want to learn more about how we are helping the public sector overcome these challenges, get in touch here.