The outgoing Government has said it will prioritise “digital transformation” in the civil and public service. Last month it announced measures to “modernise” the workplace and streamline access to public services from 2020.
The plans would see each civil service department nominating a ‘digital leader,’ responsible for pushing modernisation and digitisation of services in their department.
Fórsa has said it will watch the development closely if it’s pursued by the incoming post-election government. Last year the union issued a policy position which supported civil service automation, but said it must genuinely improve services to the public and avoid job losses.
The union also said planning and consultation was required to ensure that new recruits are trained to thrive in increasingly-automated work environments, while older workers get help to adapt.
Speaking at the union’s 2019 civil service conference, head of division Derek Mullen said: “We will support properly thought-out automation, controlled by workers and managers whose aim is the continued enhancement and delivery of public services. Citizens do not want to talk to machines.”
Fórsa has also opposed a costly external consultant-led approach to the introduction of new technologies, and says private firms are replacing in-house IT services too much.