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Whitehall moves towards unified data and IT jobs framework

Whitehall is going to overhaul its IT and make it work more efficiently. Commentators will confirm that’s a claim often bandied about in both the public and private sector, but the government is serious about it. The first phase is complete and there should now be a single structure and agreed language to talk about IT roles in Whitehall.

Language is actually something serious for the technology community and even the wider business community. A few years ago your editor was in a briefing with a business that introduced someone as “one of their SMEs”. It was about half way through the event, after asking numerous inappropriate or poorly-targeted questions, that he realised he was talking to a “subject matter expert” rather than someone who owned a “small to medium enterprise” and worked with the company.

Whitehall transformation

The idea is to transform public service overall, and the Government Digital Service (GDS) overhaul is part of this.

Some 37 roles are involved at this stage, many of which have different titles depending on which department they are attached to but in practice the job is the same. The GDS is determined to have some consistency so that if there’s a query at least someone will know which position to ask for if they need to speak to someone.

It should also help in the recruitment process so that candidates will have a better idea of what they’re applying for, and will stand a chance of “network manager” (this being an example we’ve just made up) being the same whether you’re applying to one government department or another.

All of this is of course taking place against the backdrop of another major change in the shape of Brexit; presumably streamlining the IT infrastructure, which has grown in an unplanned manner over a period of time, will at least allow for some sort of unified approach as we near the deadline for leaving.