MI5 staff who lack computer skills made redundant
Published: 12th Apr 2010 12:19:27
MI5 is ditching staff who lack computer skills in a programme of compulsory and voluntary redundancies.
The Intelligence and Security Committee said the service had been reviewing its staff profile and one area of concern was the level of IT skills.
MI5 director general Jonathan Evans told the committee: "I think some of the staff perhaps aren't quite the ones that we will want for the future."
It also said MI5 faced cuts because of the state of the public finances.
Patrick Mercer, chairman of Parliament's counter-terrorism sub-committee, backed the move over computer skills.
He said: "As terrorism changes, counter-terrorism officers have to adapt to keep up.
"Our enemies use every available method to attack including using technology.
"We have to be aware of the imminent threats of cyber attacks and the old generation of MI5 have to be completely comfortable using computers and the latest technology."
Mr Mercer added: "There is no room now for the 'old school tie' or recruitment from just certain Oxbridge colleges.
"We need people from all walks of life who can speak a range of languages and possess certain technical skills."
The committee oversees the work of the Security Service (MI5), Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) and the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ).
It reports directly to the prime minister, rather than Parliament, and its report is partially censored.
Computer security consultant Phil Robinson, who has worked with the government, said he was surprised by the move.
"I know a lot of people who are over 60 who are quite capable of using Facebook and Twitter," he said.
"A six-year-old can use them, so I'm sure a 60-year-old can."
"It's important to have computer skills in that line of work, and the UK security services are full of people who have got good computer skill-sets."
"But it's an essential part of most jobs. Just to pick out MI5 is a bit bizarre."
At 04:29:02 in EnglandA medieval sword possibly taken as a trophy during the Battle of Hastings is due to go under the hammer later.
At 04:16:39 in EnglandAn A-level student who was removed to Mauritius weeks before sitting her exams has said she is "grateful" for all the support she received.
At 03:58:38 in HeadlinesWorkers decommissioning Japan's crippled Fukushima nuclear plant have sued its operator Tokyo Electric (Tepco) over unpaid hazard wages.
At 03:11:15 in EnglandScottish Independence would "liberate" the rest of the UK and bring benefits to the North of England, according to the SNP's Christine Grahame.
At 02:48:50 in HeadlinesUS President Barack Obama is on his way to Estonia for talks on Russia and the Ukraine crisis with Baltic leaders.
At 02:13:35 in BusinessSwiss bank Credit Suisse is investigating two of its traders in London over allegations of misconduct.
At 02:11:35 in ScotlandAs the people of Scotland weigh up how to vote in the independence referendum, they are asking questions on a range of topics.
At 02:10:02 in ScotlandA statue is to be unveiled in Brechin dedicated to Sir Robert Watson-Watt, the pioneer of radar.
At 02:07:07 in HeadlinesThe islands of the Caribbean haven't always been described as "paradise". What does this tell us about both the region and the Eden of people's imagination, asks Carrie Gibson.
At 02:05:36 in ScotlandA fifth of people who have a heart bypass or a stent fitted after a heart attack do not need it, research carried out in Glasgow shows.
Harvard CitationBBC News, 2010. MI5 staff who lack computer skills made redundant [Online] (Updated 12th Apr 2010)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/51177/MI5-staff-who-lack-computer-skills-made-redundant [Accessed 3rd Sep 2014]
News In Other Categories
There will be no prosecutions over complaints about the performance of a folk band at the Ardoyne Fleadh last month.
A £3.5bn deal for nearly 600 new armoured vehicles will be signed in Caerphilly county ahead of the Nato summit.
With the doors to its brand new £1million training centre officially open, one of the UK's leading apprentice training providers, Bristol based S&B Automotive Academy, is showcasing its world-class facilities by launching a series of foreign student exchanges for the first time in its 41-year history. To get a flavour of what life is like as an apprentice in the UK, the Academy hosted 16 apprentice engineers and bus drivers from the G9 Automotive College in Hamburg, Germany, as part of a Europe-wide vocational training initiative called the ‘Leonardo Programme’ with support from the European Social Fund. In a reciprocal arrangement, S&B will be sending nine apprentices to Germany during February 2012 so that they can get an appreciation of life in the automotive industry on the Continent. A further three German exchange groups are being planned for next year. Designed to assist the development of vocational skills and training across Europe, including work placements for trainees, the Leonardo Programme has a budget of €1.75bn, which is helping to encourage UK organisations to work with their counterparts abroad. In what is expected to be another challenging year for employers in the UK automotive sector, S&B’s Chief Executive, Jon Winter, claims that the exchange initiative will bring many benefits to the Academy and its apprentices: “In a world of global automotive brands, it’s important for our learners to understand the international context of the industry they have chosen to make their career. This new exchange programme will enable apprentices and Academy staff alike to achieve a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities within the automotive arena in Europe. With the Academy’s influence also extending to the USA and Asia, there’s every possibility that this initiative could move further afield in the future.” Continued Winter: “The need for skilled technicians across the world is on the increase and we actively encourage our apprentices to look at broader horizons during their training. Many of them have already learned the phrase ‘Vorsprung durch Gelehrtheit’, quite simply, ‘Advancement through learning.” In the 2010/11 academic year, S&B doubled the number of successful Apprenticeships over the previous year with some 350 apprentices graduating from the Academy. At the same time, achievement levels reached an all-time high with an overall success rate of 85%. For those learners on the Advanced Apprenticeship three-year programme, success rates were even higher, at over 98%. PHOTO CAPTION: As part of their exchange visit, S&B Automotive Academy arranged for the German apprentices to visit Hampshire bus operator, Bluestar, at its Barton Park depot. The students are pictured with S&B’s Andy West (3rd right) and Steve Prewett, Bluestar’s Area Engineering Manager (2nd right). Ends http://www.sandbaa.com
The Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland has urged both sides in the referendum debate to treat each other with respect.
Workers decommissioning Japan's crippled Fukushima nuclear plant have sued its operator Tokyo Electric (Tepco) over unpaid hazard wages.
The Toronto International Film Festival is set to kick off on Thursday - one of the largest and most prestigious events in the annual film festival calendar.