Feeds

IT waste extracted from UK.gov

Phew! What a stink

Bridging the IT gap between rising business demands and ageing tools

The British government has admitted to Parliament that its IT projects have over-run by more than £260m in the last five years.

That was enough, said Chris Huhne, Liberal Democrat Shadow Environment Secretary, to build and kit out a new hospital.

It demonstrated "chronic mismanagement on an epic scale," he said in a written statement. "Any public company with this sort of track record would have sacked its board of directors."

Considering that the government estimates its annual IT spend to be approximately £12bn a year, a back of an envelope calculation makes the Lib Dem revelation less astonishing than Huhne makes out.

More astonishing is how low the government's estimate is.

Take one example, the poor embattled National Programme for IT. When tendered by the government in 2003, NPfIT was set to cost £2.3bn over three years. By the end of the following year, leaks where estimating the cost at £6.2bn over 10 years, because the government had left out of its own estimates the cost of implementing the system - as though it where reasonable to advertise the price of a family saloon at the cost of its unassembled parts. Eighteen months later the official cost estimate had rocketed to £12.4bn.

To be fair, the National Audit Office said last year that the government had always known that NPfIT would cost more than £10bn, even when it said it would cost £2.3bn.

So, the cost over-run total all depends on presentation, which brings us back to the costings the government provided in answer to the Lib Dem questions. They reveal that the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) went 66.3 per cent over-budget on its IT projects, to a tune of £62.46m.

The Department of Transport miscalculated less proportionally, at 27.9 per cent, but went even more over-budget at £136m. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office was about £35m over budget, while the Home Office was nearly £19m over budget.

The Department of Health over-run is listed as a mere £3.5m. Perhaps the National Programme for IT has been a roaring success after all.

Butif we had the whole story, we might be able to make our minds up. Take another example, the Department for Work and Pensions, which according government figures give the Liberal Democrats, went over-budget by precisely £0.00.

They must have forgotten the £539m the DWP spent on computer and business reforms for the ill-fated Child Support Agency from June 2000 until the point at which in June last year it announced the whole lot would be scrapped. That should count as an overrun by the DWP, no? ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
UK government officially adopts Open Document Format
Microsoft insurgency fails, earns snarky remark from UK digital services head
UK.gov's Open Source switch WON'T get rid of Microsoft, y'know
What do you mean, we've ditched Redmond in favour of IBM?!
Major problems beset UK ISP filth filters: But it's OK, nobody uses them
It's almost as though pr0n was actually rather popular
US Social Security 'wasted $300 million on an IT BOONDOGGLE'
Scrutiny committee bods probe derailed database project
HP, Microsoft prove it again: Big Business doesn't create jobs
SMEs get lip service - what they need is dinner at the Club
ITC: Seagate and LSI can infringe Realtek patents because Realtek isn't in the US
Land of the (get off scot) free, when it's a foreign owner
Arrr: Freetard-bothering Digital Economy Act tied up, thrown in the hold
Ministry of Fun confirms: Yes, we're busy doing nothing
Australia floats website blocks and ISP liability to stop copyright thieves
Big Content could get the right to order ISPs to stop traffic
Help yourself to anyone's photos FOR FREE, suggests UK.gov
Copyright law reforms will keep m'learned friends busy
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.