Feeds

Millions wasted on IT: PAC chair parting shot

And the rest you just squandered

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

The outgoing chair of Parliament's Public Accounts Committee has criticised government IT spending in an open letter to his successor.

In the letter, Edward Leigh said that departmental IT projects are "over-ambitious, overly complex and fail to deliver what is promised while costs rocket". He also set out 10 lessons on government spending.

"Reliable information is at the heart of efficient and effective government but, where this has been recognised, too often the response has been to buy a new IT system without planning what they need and allowing for adequate testing," wrote Leigh in the letter dated 29 March 2010.

He added: "Time and again, departments have wasted millions on IT systems that fail to live up to promise, come in late and cost hugely more than forecast."

The chair used the Rural Payment Agency's "woeful" implementation of the single payment scheme as an example of poor departmental IT spending. He said the £350m system for the scheme continues to cause "anxiety and hardship" for farmers. Leigh added that the system can only be supported at a huge cost and that the data it holds is "riddled with errors".

He also described the Ministry of Defence's new £7bn defence information infrastructure system as being "fatally flawed". Leigh wrote: "There was no proper pilot for this highly complex programme. In addition, the consortium implementing the project – led by EDS, a company whose track record of delivering government IT projects has not been exemplary – underestimated the complexity of the software it had agreed to create."

Leigh continued that the failures are not isolated incidents and that there are examples of poor IT practice "across government". He believes departments have not always shown themselves to be intelligent clients and sometimes show "a lack of capacity to engage effectively with suppliers".

In order to ensure the successful delivery of future IT projects Leigh says departments must adhere to three principles: ensure senior level engagement; act as an intelligent client; and make sure there is a means of realising the benefits of a project.

The use of information by government departments is another area that needs to be improved, Leigh wrote. "This woeful absence of information on cost and demand means that departments do not have the information to know what impact they get from the money they spend," he said.

Leigh will be stepping down as the committee's chair at the forthcoming election.

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.

Intelligent flash storage arrays

More from The Register

next story
Facebook pays INFINITELY MORE UK corp tax than in 2012
Thanks for the £3k, Zuck. Doh! you're IN CREDIT. Guess not
Big Content outs piracy hotbeds: São Paulo, Beijing ... TORONTO?
MPAA calls Canadians a bunch of bootlegging movie thieves
Google Glassholes are UNDATEABLE – HP exec
You need an emotional connection, says touchy-feely MD... We can do that
YARR! Pirates walk the plank: DMCA magnets sink in Google results
Spaffing copyrighted stuff over the web? No search ranking for you
Just don't blame Bono! Apple iTunes music sales PLUMMET
Cupertino revenue hit by cheapo downloads, says report
Hungary's internet tax cannot be allowed to set a precedent, says EC
More protests planned against giga-tariff for Tuesday evening
US court SHUTS DOWN 'scammers posing as Microsoft, Facebook support staff'
Netizens allegedly duped into paying for bogus tech advice
Verizon bankrolls tech news site, bans tech's biggest stories
No agenda here. Just don't ever mention Net neutrality or spying, ok?
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
New hybrid storage solutions
Tackling data challenges through emerging hybrid storage solutions that enable optimum database performance whilst managing costs and increasingly large data stores.
Business security measures using SSL
Examines the major types of threats to information security that businesses face today and the techniques for mitigating those threats.