Together Gibraltar Seeks Clarity and Assurances from Government on State of IT&LD Employees
Together Gibraltar expresses serious reservations about the events culminating in the industrial action taken by H.M. Government’s Information Technology and Logistics Department earlier this afternoon. The walkout is the end product of longstanding unrest and disenchantment in the Department since technical work that would ordinarily have always been carried out by the IT&LD, has been repeatedly outsourced to third-party non-Governmental parties, it seems, without any meaningful consultation with the Department itself. This failure to meaningfully consult with staff is affecting all areas of the civil service: diminishing morale but also gravely hampering Gibraltar’s public services.
Slowly, but surely, attempts appear to have been made to deliberately undermine (perhaps ultimately with a view to completely replacing) Government’s own IT&LD via the creation of a new Digital Services Authority, which serves all the same functions as the IT&LD in all but name, but at a considerably higher (and we would say, unjustifiable) price tag. To date, Government has not been clear as to the cost of this increased reliance on outsourcing instead of adopting more of a ‘shared service government department’ concept, which would help to provide a traversal function across departments.
Together Gibraltar has been aware of the existence of serious concerns within the IT&LD for some time, and it is increasingly apparent that these concerns are shared by other civil servants in other Government Departments, who are equally critical of this trend towards outsourcing, and who object to the rushed and unprepared way this programme is being bulldozed to all Government departments. Faced with increased expenditure in the information technology sector, Together Gibraltar would therefore ask, how is it that so little progress has been made in relation to the eGov platform?
Undoubtedly, in the technology age that we live in, the IT&LD is critical to the smooth running of Government, but Together Gibraltar would like to emphasise the importance of taking the views of key stakeholders, such as the members of the IT&LD who have the knowledge and resources in relation to our current IT systems to ensure the smooth (and cost- efficient) implementation of any information technology solutions being contemplated. The failure of Government to consult in connection with this latest move (as well as others), and its gross overspending in the IT field, is indeed symptomatic of broader concerns which Together Gibraltar have been raising for some time now; namely this current administration’s pattern of short-term fixes and the undermining of the very staff who should be at the heart of the civil service’s future. Without long term planning and proper investment in its staff, how much longer will these services remain fit for purpose?
Together Gibraltar therefore asks the Government for a comprehensive and transparent statement of what has occurred in the outsourcing of this and other information technology contracts, and an explanation as to why it is that the IT&LD is aggrieved to the point that it has been left with no option but to stage a walk out.