£8 BILLION is locked into UK.gov's failing IT schemes, El Reg analysis reveals
Shared services centres and 'tower' contracts on the ropes
Whitehall. Pic: Shutterstock
The UK government has £8bn locked into IT contracts
which are at high risk of failure, according to an analysis of the
Infrastructure Project Authority's accounts by The Register.
Of 143 major projects representing £405bn of government spending, The Register identified 19 IT projects that were flagged as “red” or “amber/red” in the Infrastructure and Projects Authority's annual report.
That means delivery is unachievable or highly unlikely.
Projects given the highest red risk rating included
the Department for Transport's £222m move to the Cabinet Office's shared
service centre, run by IT provider arvato, along with the Home Office's
£185m project to migrate from its Oracle ERP to the shared services
Both departments noted the red status reflects
problems with the “go live” date in the cross-government programmes and
the increased costs of having to run existing systems for an extended
period of time.
That is, perhaps, unsurprising, as the chief exec of the civil service, John Manzoni, named the two shared services centre projects as one of the three major programmes in government keeping him up at night.
The Ministry of Justice's £411.6m electronic tagging programme was also flagged as “red” by the body.
Some of the other projects rated as “amber/red”
include the Home Office's £307m Digital Services at the Border
programme, intended to " deliver a new generation of Border Security
Systems"; and HMRC's £600m programme to overhaul its tax systems.
Efforts by both the Home Office and Ministry of Justice respectively to break up their legacy contracts by moving to a "tower model" were also rated as being at high risk of failure.
The Home Office said of its £369.5m Technology
Platforms for Tomorrow: "The timescale pressure has been reduced by the
identification of a ‘handover period’ with the incumbent supplier's
contracts, though the time taken to identify possible solutions based on
User Research with the Government Digital Service (GDS) has eaten into
this, and significant financial and solution / plan risks for the
Meanwhile the MoJ described its £1.7bn Future IT
Sourcing as "complex with elements being delivered at different points
of the life cycle in sequence".
The Rural Payments Ageny's £215.88m IT system for
Common Agricultural Policy payments is, not surprisingly, still rated as
high risk after its disastrous failure last year.
But while the £8bn locked into failing government IT
contracts is not to be sniffed at, that figure is significantly lower
than the figure from last year.
That is mainly because the much-delayed £16bn
Universal Credit programme received an improvement in its health rating
this year of amber.
Of the 143 major projects, many will still require a
large chunk of tech even if not specifically IT-related. The National
Audit Office spending watchdog has warned that one third of the
government's major projects due to be delivered over the next five years
are on track to fail. It has also said that thousands of techies are
needed to rescue failing projects. ®