Feeds

Blighty slaps £100m spending cap on govt IT projects

MPs fed up of blowing millions on crap contracts

Security for virtualized datacentres

The coalition's election pledge to cap IT contracts at £100m will become official policy from next month.

A procurement policy notice released by the Cabinet Office sets 1 April as the deadline when the cap will come into force for central government departments, their agencies and non-departmental public bodies.

The £100m limit is being introduced as the "government wishes to reduce significantly the delivery risk of very high value projects which use ICT to deliver their business objectives and also to achieve better value for money overall from its investment in those projects", according to the notice.

The cap will apply to all IT contracts, projects, frameworks and call offs within those frameworks, the Cabinet Office says, and in future, all contracts will need to be designed with the £100m limit in mind.

The policy notice doesn't spell the end of large IT projects, however; IT projects will be allowed to exceed £100m on the grounds of national security or to ensure the continuity of a critical government service.

Projects will also be allowed to exceed £100m where "a strong case can be made that doing so increases the overall cost to the taxpayer, notably increases the risk of failure or increases the security threat to the public body or government as a whole", the notice says.

Whitehall will be expected to achieve the new upper limit for IT contracts by:

  • Encouraging the reuse of existing assets.
  • Making changes to procurement such as the application of lean methodology to buying.
  • Greater competition among suppliers including through the increased use of SMEs.
  • Creating contracts differently, for example, by reducing their length for or separating out commodity hardware from a new project and purchasing it through an existing contract, or separating out telecoms needs and buying them through the PSN frameworks.

Capping the cost of projects will lead to a greater number of suppliers being used for government IT work and more contracts awarded to individual companies rather than consortiums, the notice says.

However, it acknowledges potential problems with the new model, including a potential reduction in economies of scale and issues with staff until the system is bedded in.

There could be "a shortage of public sector capability in the range of expertise required to deliver this new approach that could lead to project failures" and "a potential risk that departments may choose to use a number of suppliers to mask the overall cost of a project", the notice says.

This article was originally published at Guardian Government Computing.

Guardian Government Computing is a business division of Guardian Professional, and covers the latest news and analysis of public sector technology. For updates on public sector IT, join the Government Computing Network here.

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
JINGS! Microsoft Bing called Scots indyref RIGHT!
Redmond sporran metrics get one in the ten ring
Driving with an Apple Watch could land you with a £100 FINE
Bad news for tech-addicted fanbois behind the wheel
Murdoch to Europe: Inflict MORE PAIN on Google, please
'Platform for piracy' must be punished, or it'll kill us in FIVE YEARS
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Sony says year's losses will be FOUR TIMES DEEPER than thought
Losses of more than $2 BILLION loom over troubled Japanese corp
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Why Oracle CEO Larry Ellison had to go ... Except he hasn't
Silicon Valley's veteran seadog in piratical Putin impression
Big Content Australia just blew a big hole in its credibility
AHEDA's research on average content prices did not expose methodology, so appears less than rigourous
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.