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Scottish gov may miss IT budget cut target

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The Scottish government is unlikely to hit a public sector savings target after new data revealed that halfway through a five-year billion-pound savings drive, bureaucrats shaved just six per cent from its IT budgets.

In a report published in June 2011, the businessman John McClelland called for savings of between £870m and £1bn to be made over a five year period, starting in 2012.

But according to figures released to the Sunday Herald newspaper, it has saved just £56.1m so far.

That figure includes savings made in 2011, meaning the true savings between 2012 and today are likely to be even smaller.

Despite the Scottish bureaucrats' poor performance, McClelland claimed he always expected the bulk of the cost-cutting to take place towards the end of the scheme.

In his original 2011 report McClelland wrote: “In 2015/16 the annual savings would be at least £230m per annum and the cumulative savings over a five-year period beginning in 2012/13 would be at least £870m and potentially up to £1bn.”

Yesterday he told the Herald: "When I set it up that way I expected it to be realistic, and the Scottish Government would have challenged it if they didn't think it would be the case. [The savings target] is an opinion, the final proof will be in the outcome. I was honestly assessing what the opportunity was but I was very conscious that it would take a while to get the infrastructure in place, and the external procurement. I'm not disappointed."

a Scottish government spokesman told the newspaper: "A number of collaborative procurement frameworks are now in place and are being utilised by the public sector. There are more in the pipeline to deliver on key areas of the strategy but the results to date confirmed benefits for Scottish Procurement collaborative ICT procurements are £56.1m [for the spend period 2011-14]."

El Reg has asked the Scottish Government how it plans to make up the rest of the savings over the next two-and-a-bit years, but it has not yet responded. ®

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