I don’t wish to comment on Jacqui Smith, other than to respect her honesty on this subject. We all kind of know that Ministers don’t get much training on the core aspects of their jobs, and so I wonder why we expect them to do a good job on issues that might not be right at the core of their day jobs, like data protection, IT governance and technology project management. Those sort of competences are supposed to be available in the permanent civil service but that doesn’t mean Ministers know how to access those competences.
I begin to think that, where information and IT is concerned, the world may already be operating at a level way beyond the professional competence of most Ministers. Technology project disasters, toothless legislation and data breaches will continue to be standard until our government brings in some technocrats – not to sit in the Lords with GOATs but to put some actual good practice in place.