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UK.gov spaffed billions into IT projects at 'high risk of failure' last year

Annual Report still makes for ‘encouraging reading’ though

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The British government blew £2.5bn on a number of IT projects flagged at high risk of failure in 2014/15, a Register analysis of the Major Project Authority annual report into big government programmes can reveal. The lifetime cost of all those IT projects is almost £36bn.

The annual report on the status of 188 big projects said the total budget for 2014/15 was £22bn. The total lifetime value of all those projects is £489bn over 40 years, it said.

One of the most expensive IT projects flagged as "high risk" was Universal Credit. The total lifetime cost of the project has increased by £3bn over the last two years to £15.85bn.

Universal Credit was re-set in last year's report and subsequently avoided a high risk rating.

However, the Public Accounts Committee heard in December that the project fell back into "high risk" just six months after the MPA revealed the entire project was reset.

Last year the Department for Work and Pensions splashed £323.80m on the disastrous project.

The Register identified 20 IT projects flagged as either "amber/red", where "major risks or issues are apparent in a number of key areas" or "red", which means "successful delivery of the project is unachievable."

However, the report acknowledged some overlap between projects deemed as IT involving "transformation and service delivery".

It added: "These are particularly challenging, typically requiring a complex business transformation process with IT, organisational, operational, and regulatory change being implemented simultaneously."

Cabinet Office minister Matt Hancock said, in the foreword to the report: "This year’s Annual Report makes for encouraging reading. The MPA’s traffic light delivery confidence assessments show real improvements in many of the projects facing significant challenges."

"Of the 31 projects rated red or amber/red two years ago, 14 have risen to green, amber/green, or amber," he added.

Those figures do not take into account new projects to have been rated red or amber/red this year. ®

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