Annual report outlines the benefits of department’s use of dedicated pay structures for tech profession, while also outlining ongoing challenges with prevalence of legacy technology and use of paper processes
By adopting government’s dedicated pay framework for digital and data professionals, the Ministry of Justice has been able to boost the collective pay packet of its tech workforce by £22m.
The ministry’s newly published annual accounts for the 2022-23 year reveal that its Justice Digital unit has adopted the Government Digital and Data Pay Framework. The specialist pay structure – known as the DDaT Pay Framework until a rebrand of government’s digital profession this week – is designed to help departments attract and retain staff with key tech skills, who can benefit from an additional annual allowance of between £3,000 and £10,000.
When all its arm’s-length bodies are included, the Ministry of Justice is government’s biggest department by headcount, with more than 90,000 employees – almost 1,500 of which are part of the digital and data profession.
For these workers, Justice Digital has “been able to award £22m in additional allowances”, according to the annual report, which adds that the pay boost for techies is one of a number of measures that “the department has put in place… to address staff turnover”.
Elsewhere in the accounts document, the ministry reveals that significant work is taking place across the organisation to address legacy technology and cyber risks.
“However, our ability to reduce technical debt remains a challenge,” the report says. “We have created a dashboard for our most critical systems to reflect the risks and plans to address them. People resource and capability continues to be an issue, both to maintain old systems and develop new innovative systems to support business improvements.”
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To help improve its security posture, the MoJ said that it has striven to be “a leading department in the cross-government pilot of the Cabinet Office’s GovAssure programme”, which requires departments to undergo yearly independent audits of cyber-resilience.
“This is helping us to get a much more detailed picture of the security risks and issues in different areas and systems,” the report said. “We have also invested £1.5 million in reviewing and improving the security of our supply chain, through development of new processes and policies, and the review of existing contracts.
“However, legacy IT systems continue to hamper full compliance with cyber security and digital and technology standards.”
Among the highest-priority areas for legacy remediation are those systems which could help support the objectives enshrined in a data strategy created during 2022-23. The MoJ has “allocated dedicated tech debt funding” to address these areas, according to the report.
The document adds: “[The strategy] sets out three ambitions: improve justice outcomes through data-driven insight and innovation; ensure data meets user needs; and build a data culture to value data as a strategic asset.”
In her foreword to the accounts, MoJ permanent secretary Antonia Romeo stressed the importance of digital and data to the work of the ministry.
“We are transforming how we manage our data and service delivery by strengthening the MoJ’s data function and the MoJ’s Digital Strategy aims to help people’s experience of interacting with the justice system by creating simpler, faster, and better services,” she wrote.