Does the UK government need 8,000 IT staff?

Despite the government having outsourced the majority of its IT delivery, research by Computer Weekly has revealed that Whitehall still has 8,000 in-house IT staff. 

With public sector IT spending under growing scrutiny, does the taxpayer get value for money from the IT departments running central government? Consider a few facts that may put the government’s 8,000-strong in-house IT workforce into perspective:

  • Facebook, which supports 800 million users worldwide, employs just 3,200 people -less than half the number of IT professionals employed by all of Whitehall.
  • Central government has outsourced approximately 70% of its IT roles, according to Whitehall sources. 
  • Surprisingly, this is believed to be is also the first time an IT staffing figure has been calculated for central government, as the Cabinet Office has never measured the number of staff working on client-side IT.
  • The Ministry of Defence alone has 2,746 staff working on IT.
  • The IT staff numbers could be even higher as not all 23 departments sent Freedom of Information requests by Computer Weekly included IT professionals working for associated government agencies in their response.