Are Government CIOs and IT suppliers ‘hiding behind a comfort blanket’?

According to an ex senior Chief, CIO’s within government and IT suppliers must stop ‘hiding behind a comfort blanket’ because some of them ‘just don’t have the capability’ to see through the change needed in Whitehall IT.

Former G-Cloud programme director Chris Chant criticised those in government IT who he believes are preventing key changes from taking place in the way IT is procured and subsequently managed. He believes real progress is being blocked by an absence of capability in both departments and their suppliers and by a strong resistance to change.

Chant does admit that government IT has come a long way in recent years and highlights moves such as greater transparency, open data, and the G-Cloud programme for which he has been responsible, as big drivers of change – but says much more needs to be done. He claims CIO’s across government need to recognise what has changed and stop hiding behind the comfort blanket of what has always been done before.

Could the Government be doing more in terms of exploring new and inventive ways of procuring and managing its IT?
As one of the more vocal supporters of the need for widespread transformation within government IT; Chant has established many of the programmes initiating this change, such as the use of SMEs and moves to use cloud computing – claiming that contracts with single suppliers have led to both poor service and high costs.

Chant does claim that some in the public sector are no longer willing to put up with the poor service and delivery they’ve experienced and are actively looking for new ways of working.

But does this perceived over-reliance on contracts with big suppliers lead to smaller, innovative firms being excluded? Or do new suppliers bring too much risk and uncertainty?

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