The Public Sector ICT Summit 2017 took place on 8th March and was attended by over 200 Public Sector ICT leaders. This year techUK’s Head of Public Sector Rob Driver chaired the Summit and presented on the findings of techUK’s Civil Servants Survey. To frame the day’s proceeding, he outlined how 84% of civil servants agree or strongly agree that tech is critical to delivering their department’s business plans and that skills and culture remain a challenge, with only 14% rating digital capability as good.
The Summit hosted many ICT leaders from across Central and Local Government, Agencies and the tech industry - all providing insights on "Empowering Public Sector ICT Leaders". Key themes included:
Holly Ellis, Chief Operating Officer, Digital, Data and Technology at the Home Office provided an overview of the progress made at the Department on empowering public sector ICT leaders. This included a discussion on skills and professions that are well within the reach of many professionals not directly involved in digital or tech services. She also provided an overview of how the Home Office has sought to break down perceived barriers for professionals looking to apply their skills and experience to digital job roles. The key message from the session focused on leadership, and how personal ownership is key. Holly stated that ‘we create the path, people have to choose to take it’.
Zara Farrar, Head of the Women’s Group & Senior Creative Producer at the Government Digital Service (GDS) and Doreen Charlton, Senior Policy Advisor at BEIS provided an overview of the experiences and initiatives from their respective organisations to promote leadership for women in Public Sector ICT. Examples included the programme of activity from GDS’ Women’s Group, where initiatives such as unconscious bias training and reverse mentoring have already had an impact on cultural norms in the workplace. However, it was highlight that much work is required to achieve gender parity in the tech sector more widely with women occupying just 17% of tech jobs, and fewer than one in ten of these women in leadership positions.
Ieuan Trigger, Category Director for Network Services at the Crown Commercial Service gave an overview of ‘Informed Commissioning in a Competitive Marketplace’ where he highlighted the fundamental importance of promoting SME access to public sector contracts to enable Government to achieve its target of spending £1 in every £3 with small businesses by 2020. In the afternoon session, John Abbott, Director of Digital Services at the Land Registry provided an overview of how Government can be smarter with how it shares data both internally and externally to enhance the impact of public services.
Rob Driver, Head of Public Sector commented:
“The Public Sector ICT Summit provided a diverse showcase of how Government and the tech industry are seeking to harness the power of tech to transform public services. It was encouraging to hear how the Public Sector is broadening the range of suppliers it engages with, and promoting better use of data to drive innovation in public services.”
“To truly empower Public Sector ICT leaders, it requires the right people, with the right skills, and the right approach. It was inspiring to hear the impressive progress that has been made within Government Departments, Agencies and Local Authorities to embed innovation across public services. When innovative transformation has worked well in the public sector, it has been enabled by the right skills and effective leadership across all organisational levels and service areas.”