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The Government Digital Service (GDS) is embarking on a recruitment drive to hire 14 technical advisers, which it hopes will address a skills gap identified by the National Audit Office (NAO) and support the department’s drive for IT reform in the public sector.

Although the roles aren’t new positions - those hired will be replacing people that have previously left - GDS has said that it is looking for a different skill set this time round.

A job notice on the civil service website outlines each position as a: “Senior Technical Advisor working as part of the IT Reform team to work with the Government CTO [Liam Maxwell] to set the strategy for Government technology, challenge departments as part of the spend control process, and to support them through the advisory team.”

Each position has a potential ‘total package’ of up to £93,225 per annum. The total package will comprise base salary, additional pensionable allowances, pension benefits, generous annual leave allowance and flexible working arrangements 

Alex Holmes, deputy director of IT reform at GDS, said that GDS is looking for candidates that will support the government’s IT reform agenda and hopes that the new employees will address the concerns outlined by the NAO in its January report on the impact of the government’s ICT savings initiatives.

The NAO said in its report: “The pace, breadth and depth of the change required by the Cabinet Office’s ICT reform initiatives is opening up capacity and capability gaps across central government.”

These ICT savings initiatives include the launch of the single government domain, GOV.UK, mandating all departments to adopt open standards, the launch of the third iteration of the Cloudstore, and the release of the government’s Digital Strategy, which looks to digitise hundreds of thousands of transactions across government.

“What we really are looking for are genuine IT reformers. It’s always good to refresh and bring new people into government. We want people who have actually delivered IT in a modern digital way outside of government,” said Holmes.

When asked if he thought candidates with such skills would be interested in working for government departments, Holmes said that the opportunities in the public sector are unique.

“Already today we have had a lot of people showing interest, because I think we are in an environment that has the potential for lots of change,” said Holmes.

“I think there are lots of people out there that want to embrace the challenge. Also, we have 400,000 users, so you can make a difference to a lot of people.”

GDS is advertising the positions for two weeks, will be interviewing shortly after that, and hopes to have hired candidates by April. Holmes also described that those taken on board will be placed in one of three different roles.

“All the technical advisers will be working across government. However, some will be running spend controls, and so, for example, will be assigned to the Home Office to work really closely with them on their technology transformation,” he said.

“Then as these candidates identify projects that need some additional support and capabilities, other advisers will go in and dive into that particular project.”

He added: “The remaining candidates will be supporting the government CTO, Liam Maxwell, in terms of advising and setting the overall strategy.”