Blog 05 November 2019

Competing with the cool kids. Using low-code to attract IT talent in the public sector

by Richard Farrell


5th Nov, 2019

Up and down the country local government is suffering from a digital skills gap. And they find it difficult to recruit the amount of skilled developers needed for digital transformation. 

Apparently, it’s not ‘cool’ to work where there are no sleep pods, pizza nights or beer o’clock. And, councils that are outside the main IT geographic hubs have difficulty attracting talented staff. Typically devs want to keep their cvs filled with coding at leading edge companies.

Perhaps it’s the attitude to recruitment too. At our recent debate with CLGdotTV we discussed how ‘old school’ approaches are holding councils back, both in procurement and in recruitment. Applicants have been turning away when a more formal recruitment and induction approach was used, especially for virtual staff.

Working in local government is varied and rewarding. And although some employees may welcome a lifetime career, Jason Kitcat of Essex suggested a short-term ‘tour of duty’ option. In other words – it’s a project focus not a lifetime commitment. ‘Join to contribute value, learn and then move away when it’s right for you’. This could be much more attractive. He also said that when someone wants to return, be helpful and inclusive. Welcome those who want to ‘boomerang’ back.

Essex County Council has looked at ways to stop tech from holding them hostage. One option is using an outsourcer to deliver a specific service, such as their fixed price blog. All the work, penetration testing and maintenance is done. So, they don’t need to worry about any of that. This has been made business as usual, through Gcloud and the digital outcomes framework.

Another way to fill the skills gap is to ‘grow your own’. How about offering things like internships, secondments or knowledge transfers? Jobs are changing, fast. This means that “growing skills is more important than ever before” said Richard Farrell of Netcall. There is a way to keep good staff and help the business transform. “The skills gap can be as much about the tools you use as the staffers you don’t have. When you are able to give subject matter experts in your department IT skills, they become an even more valuable resource. Employees with both the service area knowledge and the business process skills build the process automation tools you need.”

Richard shared how corporates, government departments, and local authorities are all using low-code to turn business users into developers. 

Clearly IT will need to lead on security and governance. So they set the access controls and vet apps before launch to make sure everything is secure, compliant and up to scratch. Our low-code for local government solution is built for both business users and developers. Allowing them to work together to deliver what you council and citizens need. Now and in the future, keeping your transformation agenda on track.

So much more was discussed and you can see the full interview on the Connected Local Government website. And find out more about our Liberty Create solution.

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