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Government IT strategy confirms savings target

Pulls £3.2 billion per year out of its hat

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The Cabinet Office has launched the new Government ICT Strategy with the claim it will save £3.2bn per year from 2013-14.

The document, published on 27 January 2010, brings together the initiatives launched over the past year in what it describes as a plan for a "smarter, cheaper and greener public sector ICT infrastructure".

Cabinet Office minister Angela Smith forecast the savings would hit £3.2bn annually, equivalent to the 20% saving on ICT identified by last year's Operational Efficiency Programme, and that it would contribute to higher quality services.

"We are committed to putting the public's needs first," she said. "That is why we are innovating and revolutionising our ICT systems to ensure that they are as effective and efficient as possible for those working in the public sector, and at the same time we are able to make huge savings."

The key measures of the plan have already been launched and publicised by the Cabinet Office. They include: establishing the G Cloud for ICT services for government in a cloud environment; reducing the number of government data centres from more than 100 to 10-12; creating a Government Applications Store of reusable online computer programs on a pay by use basis; and the implementation of a common strategy for desktop computers.

It says the resulting savings would be £300m annually from the data centre rationalisation, £500m per year from the Applications Store and £400m per year from the desktop strategy.

John Suffolk, the government chief information officer, said: "We have seen a period of significant change over recent months and years. Technology has changed, the economy has changed and ICT in government must also change.

"This strategy sets out a new model for government ICT which will deliver a secure and resilient ICT infrastructure that will enable faster, better services for the public."

He added that the Applications Store is still in the design phase but is expected to begin delivering a few "quick wins" in the course of this year.

"It's like all these things, it looks fine on paper but you've really got to go out and try some of this stuff," he told GC News. "So low level, relatively simple quick wins are on the agenda for this year."

He said that suppliers will be able to publish details of services or products in the store without a procurement, and that any contracting vehicles would also be documented. The idea would be to give potential customers as much information as possible to help with their decisions, and that the Cabinet Office is currently working with suppliers to see how it could be set up.

Also noted in the strategy is the creation late last year of the Implementation Steering Group, which deals with the Chief Technology Officers Council, the programme boards and steering groups and the Supply Management Board, and reports to the Chief Information Officers Council. Suffolk said it is pulling all the elements of the strategy together; for example, in ensuring that the desktop strategy and plans for the G Cloud are compatible.

This article was originally published at Kable.

Kable's GC weekly is a free email newsletter covering the latest news and analysis of public sector technology. To register click here.

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