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No more 'rip-off' IT disasters – UK.gov will be too busy tweeting

RT @SirHumphrey_Appleby A courageous move, minister

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Blighty's government has promised that its new "digital by default" campaign will put a stop to billion-pound IT catastrophes that have dogged the public sector for years.

In a commitment-light response to a report subtly titled Government and IT "a recipe for rip-offs" - published in January by MPs on the Public Administration Committee - bods within the Cabinet Office wheeled out claims that the government is better at agile procurement and is now commissioning significantly more from small and medium businesses.

The committee's suggestion that the government needed independent advice on handling IT projects was also rebuffed.

MPs on the committee also expressed scepticism that the Cabinet Office's "agile champions" would not be senior enough to make big decisions about procurement - a potential problem that the department, overseen by Tory Francis Maude, said it was aware of and working to avoid.

In making a commitment to access, the Cabinet Office promised to use social media more and touted the gov.uk domain, which it says would be easier to access and cheaper to maintain. However the commitments from the Government Digital Service (GDS) were vague at best:

The GDS is engaging with departments to accelerate their digital by default and channel shift plans using relevant social media and digital channels. GDS is working with departments to fundamentally change the way their policy teams think of social media.

The first edition of the A recipe for rip-offs report, published in July 2011, slammed the government for wasting "obscene" amounts of public money, fingering some Whitehall departments for spending £3,500 on desktop computers. ®

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