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GSD says Govt’s digital shift has been ‘slow, painful and costly’

ITLD workers walked out on Friday in a dispute with the Gibraltar Government. Photo by Johnny Bugeja

The GSD said the Gibraltar Government’s “so-called” digital transformation has been “slow, painful and costly”.

The Opposition was reacting after workers at the Information Technology and Logistics Department walked out last week as they stepped up a dispute over cybersecurity roles and changes in responsibilities.

Backed by the GGCA union, ITLD workers said they had been “set up to fail”.

For the GSD, this was “a monument to the Government’s mismanagement” of the move to digital services and e-Government.

“The Government has spent around £18m in the e-government, digital and IT projects – a lot of that on expensive consultants,” said Keith Azopardi, the Leader of the Opposition.

“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 Gibraltar Government said last week that there was no dispute with ITLD and that it remained willing to discuss the workers’ concerns.

But the GGCA had reacted angrily to that suggestion, which the GSD on Monday described as adding “insult to injury” given longstanding issues going back six 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,” the GSD said.

“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.”

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