People power needed to drive the modern, digital public sector

24th August 2018 - 15:00

by Guy Morley


Digital transformation is not a new concept.  Recent years have seen the rapid evolution of technology disrupt businesses across the globe. This is wide ranging, encompassing the Internet of Things (IoT), blockchain, chatbots, machine learning and virtual reality. These high impact technologies provide massive opportunities to deliver enhanced solutions to customers quicker than ever before, and we are witnessing their transformative role in almost every corner of our society.


When discussing technological innovations and digital transformation, it is easy to disregard the public sector, which for many is confined to traditional, concrete processes of conventional governments or health services. However it is not only brands and businesses that can benefit from digitisation; the public sector too has a lot to gain. The UK government has been taking steps towards digital transformation since November 2012, when it launched its first digital strategy, proposing the Government to become ‘digital by default’. [1]


With technology at everyone’s fingertips, most people are well aware of the necessity to adopt a digital-first strategy within the public sector. There has been significant progress, with the adoption of the Government Transformation Strategy 2017-2020, NHS digital, the Ministry of Justice Digital & Technology, and the HMCTS Reform Programme.  But more meaningful action is required to make the UK public sector a digital leader, and for us as UK citizens to reap the full benefits.


The steps required for a digital revolution are not limited to adopting new IT infrastructure, or to simply moving all data online/to the cloud. It is also powered by the people. This has already been recognised within the UK Government, as a £1 million Digital Skills Innovation Fund was recently announced in August 2018. This initiative aims to provide disabled people and those from under-represented groups with the opportunity to become tomorrow’s tech stars.  It provides them with new digital skills as part of a push to improve diversity in the digital economy and address local skills challenges. [2]


Despite digital progress, the public sector faces plenty of obstacles to achieving its end goal. Alongside challenges such as budget constraints and conflicting priorities, one major obstacle to long-term digital transformation is the lack of digital workforce skills in the UK’s public sector.


A 2016 Government report on the Government Transformation Strategy highlights that by 2020, it aims to “grow the right people, skills and culture.”[3] The report states that since 2012 “many more digital, data and technology specialists have been recruited across government, improving government’s technical capability significantly. The challenge now is to attract, recruit and retain specialists in a very competitive marketplace.”[4]


What separates digital leaders from those that fall behind is a clear digital strategy combined with a work culture and leadership poised to drive the transformation. Buying into the right infrastructure is only half the challenge; we must invest in hiring the right people, with the right skills, to support and power the digitisation. 


The public sector may have methods in place to ensure that digital technology becomes paramount to public service delivery, but without the right talent, it will not meet these targets in the near future. The challenge to attract and retain such sought after tech and IT talent is fierce, and this article highlights the call for tech talent to drive the digital transformation of our public services across all areas, including healthcare, the Government, and blue light services.  


At Advento, our teams are fully trained and experienced in understanding the technology requirements of today’s public sector organisations, and the importance of delivering candidates with high technical skills to meet those needs. We are experienced in supporting organisations to become more data driven by connecting them to the best talent on the market, thereby delivering high impact change.


If you are interested in a career in technology in the public sector, take a look at our website for job openings: 


Or if you would like to get in touch for general enquiries, please email or call us on (0)1892512494.






Advento Star Women

Advento Star Women is a service dedicated to attracting, supporting and promoting talented women in the areas we specialism, from leadership positions to technical and scientific roles, traditionally these have been poorly represented and at Advento we aim to change that.

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