ICT delays prompt Scottish skills warning

A Scottish Parliament committee has raised concerns over the level of specialist skills within the public sector after a series of ICT projects were hit by delays.

The Public Audit Committee, which published a paper for its successor committee before parliament was dissolved last week, criticised the Scottish Government for failing to undertake an assessment of the skills gap across the public sector until two years after Audit Scotland recommended one.     

“We remain concerned about the level of specialist skills in the public sector to equip it to manage and deliver ICT projects successfully,” said the committee’s report.

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The fresh warning comes after NHS 24’s new call-handling system, the cost of which has risen to £117.4m, 55 per cent higher than the original estimate of £75.8m, had to be shelved due to concerns over patient safety.

Problems with a new IT system to administer payments to farmers and crofters following reform to the Common Agricultural Policy last year has also seen farmers suffer delays to European Union support payments.

All Scottish Parliament committees produced legacy reports setting out work undertaken over the last five years and suggestions for future inquiry topics.

The Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee called for an inquiry into digital infrastructure and the potential for economic growth to be held in the next parliamentary session.

Colin Marrs

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