Workers in Government’s ITLD Set Up to Fail
The fact that civil servants in the Government’s Information Technology department [ITLD] feel that they have been “set up to fail” is a monument to the Government’s mismanagement of the so-called digital transformation that it has presented with great fanfare but which has, in fact, been slow, painful and costly.
Leader of the Opposition, Keith Azopardi said: “The Government has spent around £18Million in the e-government, digital and IT projects – a lot of that on expensive consultants. There has been little to show for it that is anywhere close to the modernisation and transformation that had been promised to people. Instead the consumer has had to suffer broken or inadequate systems that have just simply not been fit for purpose in many respects.
In the process the Government has chosen to under-resource its own ITLD and spend millions elsewhere for little obvious benefit to the public. There are big questions of value for money for the whole project over the last few years. Could the taxpayer not have got greater value for money with a programme of real investment and resourcing of its ITLD?”
The Government insisting that there is no dispute with the particular department simply adds insult to injury given that clearly there have been long-standing disputes over the last 6 years. For the civil service union to say that they cannot continue to deal with the Minister responsible speaks volumes of the handling of the situation but this is ultimately a problem of the Government’s creation, for the way they have treated this department and for the colossal use of public funds. A wholly different approach is what is needed, one which properly supports the department and provides an effective service to the public.
It is obvious that civil servants feel aggrieved given their walk-out on Friday and that there are disputes in respect of responsibilities that are being further eroded from ITLD. Civil servants are right to view those issues as matters of concern not just to workers in the department but as to the quality of the service the public are not enjoying as a result.
GSD Meet GGCA
The GSD met with the GGCA this morning to discuss issues concerning their members in civil service departments and other public sector bodies, agencies or authorities. The GSD was represented at the meeting by Leader of the Opposition, Keith Azopardi, and Damon Bossino MP.
Keith Azopardi said: “as we have mentioned on other occasions we have been actively meeting representative groups across our community. Positive engagement with the GGCA is not only welcome but necessary so that a future GSD Government can positively tackle the issues of concern of members, enhance the public service, reform and modernise it and obtain better value for money for the taxpayer. Many civil servants feel let down by this Government and understandably so. They are not being allowed to deliver the service the public hopes for in a number of areas through no fault of their own but rather because the Government has sat on some public sector reform issues for many years. Civil servants are rightly frustrated. We hope to continue to engage positively with GGCA in future.”
In last week’s Parliamentary session, the GSD asked questions relating to Wonderworks Media Limited (WML) because the party had been informed that it was hiring labour to the Town Planning Department. WML is owned by Community Services and Supplies Limited, the company which is involved in (i) the Victoria Stadium; (ii) Coaling Island temporary housing; (iii) Laguna pensioners’ flats; (iv) Eastern beach promenade; and (v) the Rooke residential home projects. The directors of WML are civil servants.
In answer to questions Sir Joe Bossano stated that labour was not being hired from CSSL, although no reference was made to WML, despite the question specifically referring to this company. Mr Picardo had said he did not have information as to the precise company but had referred to using the private sector on matters relating to building control and preparation of projects for the DPC. What Sir Joe Bossano did reveal is that the Government “may give them (CSSL) work to do, with their labour”. This statement is potentially misleading and ambiguous at best.
It has now come to the attention of the party that employees of WML and/or CSSL are carrying out clerking jobs not only at the Town Planning Department but also in the Social Security Department.
“The Government is therefore asked to clarify what work is being done by CSSL or WML such that their employees are being allowed access to Government departments and further confirm whether these individuals are doing clerical jobs in government departments. If true, the effect is that the Government is filling civil servant posts in a way which is unacceptable.” said Damon Bossino of the GSD Opposition.