The number of Home Office IT staff has been slashed by one third, following the latest round of redundancies at the department, The Register can reveal.
Currently the department has an 800-strong IT team, following its recent laying off of 107 staff. However, multiple sources have confirmed this is just the latest in a round of IT redundancy programmes, which have seen the body dramatically shrink in size.
Whitehall employs thousands of IT staff, despite the vast majority of its IT services having been outsourced decades ago.
The Department for Work and Pensions and HMRC alone have nearly 3,000 – according to Freedom of Information responses sent to El Reg. While the Ministry of Defence is thought to have more than 2,500.
Until recently IT departments appear to have been relatively sheltered from the cuts. For example, last year HMRC and DWP shed roughly 3 to 4 per cent of their IT staff, to 1,450 and 1,461 respectively. The IT staff costs at both departments totalled £63.9m and £56m each.
But with billions more to slice off budgets this year, it's likely other departments will be casting an increasingly critical eye over their techie teams.
The majority of IT staff in government are contract service managers and do not have technical qualifications, said one insider.
Another source remarked there is an over abundance of IT middle managers in government, who spend too much time in meetings.
As departments are tasked with finding £3bn in savings in the current financial year, it's likely many will follow the lead of the Home Office.
It is also possible that the Cabinet Office's Government Digital Service team of nearly 700 in-house and contract staff may be reduced this year, as The Register understands the department is currently undergoing a zero-based budget review.
A spokeswoman from the Home Office said: “The Home Office is playing its part in reducing the budget deficit while ensuring we deliver on government plans including reducing crime, controlling immigration and keeping the UK secure ... Home Office Technology is being transformed to become a more skilled and focused team.” ®