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Depts declare dumped IT deals

MoD confirms £4.8m project cancelled

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The Ministry of Defence is among departments which have revealed the cancellation of multimillion pound contracts.

The ministry confirmed the cancellation of its £4.8m Land Information Architecture Office project as part of an ICT project review.

In a parliamentary written answer, Peter Luff, the defence minister, also said that his department is continuing with the review.

He was responding to a question from Pete Wishart, the Scottish National Party MP. Wishart has written to several departments asking which IT contracts awarded in the last five years have been abandoned or cancelled and for their value.

The largest cancellations mentioned in replies to his questions were made by the Department of Health's NHS National Programme for IT. It said it had cancelled Fujitsu's £1.1bn local service provider deal in May 2008, which was publicised at the time, and ended the same company's £55m frontline helpdesk contact work in March 2009.

Replies to Wishart's questions reveal more recent, smaller value cancellations as a result of the coalition government's moratorium on new ICT projects. Kew Gardens, a non-departmental public body of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, has cancelled a £140,000 back office project, and will share a system with other government bodies instead. The answer did not reveal how much money will be saved.

Further back, in 2007 the Rural Payments Agency ended a broadband contract worth £870,000. At what point in the contract term this occurred and how much was saved was not revealed.

A review of the National Enforcement Tracker System project found that it no longer provided value for money or met requirements. The Ministry of Justice said that £4.3m had been spent on the project by the time it was axed.

2008 saw HM Courts Service cancelling an electronic filing and document management programme. The project had cost nearly £6m since it started in 2005.

The Department for Work and Pensions said it had abandoned just one IT contract in the last five years, the £6.19m contact management services order services deal with IBM. Achieving a much smaller saving, the Department for International Development abandoned an internal IT project run by its Pakistan office, which had cost £7,000 at the point of cancellation.

The Home Office and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the departments for energy and and culture all said they had not abandoned any ICT deals within the last five years. The Cabinet Office said it had not done so since the formation of the new government – without discussing earlier cancellations.

Departments including transport and communities and local government said they have no central record of IT deals, while business, innovation and skills has no record of ending an ICT contract worth more than £100,000.

This article was originally published at Kable.

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