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David Cameron, leader of the Conservatives, is setting up a working group to investigate the Labour government's use of IT and management practices.

The Conservatives said the group, announced on 1 May, is a direct response to recent "fiascos" surrounding the Labour government's handling of IT and management information.

A Conservative spokesperson told Government Computing News: "We do not think the Labour government is able to implement IT systems and get them online in time. Look at the recent fiascos surrounding child tax credits, or the issues surrounding foreign prisoners (freed without facing deportation because their details were not on the national police computer).

"The working group will not just report what has or hasn't been done; it will look at new ideas to improve administrative competence and management practices within government."

The group, made up of business leaders and former civil servants, is expected to make its findings available to the current Labour government within 18 months.

It will be chaired by Sir Brian Williamson, former chairman of the London International Financial Futures Exchange, and Sir David Lees, chairman of sugar company Tate and Lyle. Archie Norman, former chief executive of Asda and MP for Tunbridge Wells, will also take part. Other appointments will be announced shortly.

Oliver Letwin, chairman of the Conservative research department, said: "It is clear that the government has vast amounts of information at its disposal. Ministers do not at present have timely access to the mission-critical information that would enable them to spot major systemic failures in the operations for which they are directly responsible.

"We hope that this group will provide that management information and hence enable ministers to ask the right questions and do a more competent job."

This article was originally published at Kablenet.

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