Skills shortage hits security services IT overhaul

The security services are suffering from a skills shortage and the security agencies’ major IT projects are about 50% over budget and behind schedule.

These conclusions form part of the parliamentary intelligence and security committee’s annual report for 2004-5.

Committee chairman Ann Taylor told Personnel Today’s sister magazine Computer Weekly that “the security service does not have sufficient project managers or expertise to manage IT projects”.

She also said: “The security service’s project to renew its IT infrastructure will now cost at least 50% more than originally envisaged and deliver less capability, although the security service plans to have it operational earlier than originally projected.”

Taylor said the Scope web-based communications programme was also suffering continuing difficulties.

Managed by the Cabinet Office, Scope “has yet to deliver any useable benefits to the UK intelligence community and will be over three year’s late”, according to Taylor.

She added, however, that the delay has allowed a more robust programme, with better risk management to be included.

In response to reports of a skills crisis, the government said: “Some measures have already been taken to introduce more specialised project management expertise into the service, and further steps are being taken to address the skills shortage.”

On the delay in the Scope programme, it said: “The government recognises that this is an important and complex programme that needs careful management. In the government’s view, it is important to devote the necessary time to getting it right.”

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