The government must take back control of certain IT services after outsourcing too many functions to external suppliers, the CTO of the Government Digital Service has admitted.
Speaking at the inaugural Digital Five summit — which aims to promote digital government by sharing best practice among its five member states — Liam Maxwell told Civil Service World that SIAM activity was among many functions and skills that must be brought back under Whitehall control.
“We've shown with the Cabinet Office transformation that what we're looking at the integration [and] the management [and] the delivery — whatever label it is we need to be in control of that.
“The civil service needs to take that back. We're very clear about that. Too often the use of SIAM is a way of [unbundling] something and just making it slightly less awful. It's not what we're about.”
His comments may come as bad news for companies who have in the past won lucrative contracts to manage multi-supplier IT services.
Maxwell’s emphasis on bringing more IT skills and functions back into government echoed similar remarks by Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude.
Maude, who hosted the two-day programme of ‘D5’ events across London, said the government had “outsourced too much, in too big a bundle, [and] with contracts that were too long”.
“We lost too much of the ability to be an intelligent customer within,” he said.
Alongside Britain, the countries whose advanced digital governments make up the D5 are South Korea, Estonia, Israel and New Zealand.
Pointing to the best practice already shared between member states at the summit, Maxwell said that three of the four other D5 members already had in-house SIAM expertise.
“Korea do that, and New Zealand do that. And the Israelis are now doing that.
“This government is for everybody and we are about desired rewards for everybody, and in order to do that, we need to be in control,” he said.