Insights & Ideas

The Civil Service is a Major Roadblock to the UK's Economic Recovery, According to Rosslyn Analytics

London, October 19, 2011: The government’s reliance on the private sector to develop new technological innovations that will aid the country’s economic recovery is under threat from the inertia of civil servants, according to Rosslyn Analytics, one of the UK’s fastest growing technology companies.

“Business leaders are truly frustrated by the government’s inability to develop a workable open data strategy based on tried and tested private sector expertise,” said Hugh Cox, co-founder and chief innovation officer at Rosslyn Analytics. “We, along with many other fast growth technology companies, are tired of watching incompetence and self-interest waste taxpayer time and money.”

Rosslyn Analytics believes the government is missing a unique opportunity to jumpstart economic growth and job creation in the UK’s technology sector through wider access to public sector data. Efforts to date have been limited and poorly managed. We believe Government officials such as Francis Maude and Business Minister Edward Davey need to rely more on the genuine and current expertise of the private sector rather than well-meaning staff with little to no sector knowledge.

Rosslyn Analytics has for the past year tried to inform the government of the value of data, even offering our advice and data management services for free. At every turn, our offers for action have been politely refused. We have however been invited to meetings and workshops to discuss these matters, to no affect – costing taxpayers billions.

Rosslyn Analytics estimates that if the government first accepted its offer to carry out a comprehensive review of central government spend data, earlier this year, HM Treasury would have now have at least an extra £2 billion.

Furthermore, Rosslyn Analytics believes that had there been more concerted action in the Open Data initiative, the coalition would have generated several hundred million more in GDP by enabling businesses such as ours to develop and sell a plethora of applications that leverage public sector data. (Note: The Conservative Party’s Technology Manifesto published in 2010 stated that open data could add £6 billion of added value to the UK economy.)

“The issue at hand is the government and, more specifically, the civil servants that advise ministers,” added Hugh Cox. “Civil servants have little to no training in either technology or business and are therefore ill equipped to manage this opportunity.”

This last point was made clear in a parliamentary report published in July by the Public Administration Select Committee entitled, “Government and IT – A Recipe for Rips-Offs: Time for a New Approach.”

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