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The UK government is failing to achieve the full potential of the £16bn it spends on ICT each year, according to a Kable report.

In a report on information management in the UK public sector, Kable found that transformation projects using technology often did not achieve their full potential for efficiency gains. When organisations implemented good information management principles, however, their performance improved.

Such principles were set out in the government's November 2008 Information Matters report. They include ensuring information is used appropriately, sharing expertise and using common information management standards.

Although the majority of organisations contacted by Kable had adopted at least one of these principles, only a third were considering adopting the whole of the Information Matters policy and another third were not aware the policy existed.

The findings suggest that organisations do not pursue good information management unless pushed to do so. Data loss, regulations, internal policy and the need for more efficient business processes had the most influence on the adoption of effective information management policies.

Scott Bryan, research director at Kable and author of the report, said: "We have looked at all sorts of reasons for why ICT is successful or not, including money spent or not and the type of supplier, and none of these have been very reliable predictors.

"But when we looked at how well an organisation puts into practice and embraces information management principles, this was found to be a very good predictor of how well an organisation realised benefits from its ICT."

Kable found that half the projects undertaken by the public sector are not seen by staff to have delivered the benefits they set out to achieve. Work pressures meant that few organisations are putting transformation projects at the centre of their strategy. Success appears to be attributable to the efforts of staff who take ownership of projects and information management generally.

Kable carried out its research in February 2009 when it interviewed 50 employees in a range of public sector organisations by telephone, as well as conducting detailed interviews with representatives from a further five organisations.

This article was originally published at Kable.

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