The National Audit Office has today published a review of how government uses Information and Communications Technology (ICT) to deliver public services. The review, the purpose of which is to inform the debate about government’s new use of ICT, gives an overview of existing uses, as well as initiatives and changes underway.
It details a number of big challenges the government faces in protecting and improving the value for money of ICT and in ensuring that ICT is deployed fully in the drive to secure sustainable cost reduction.
In response to such challenges and a worsening financial situation, the government has made a number of changes, prominent among which was the formation in June 2010 of the Efficiency and Reform Group that is taking a new approach to securing value for money from ICT. The Group has been responsible for a number of new initiatives, including the moratorium on central government’s signing new ICT contracts worth more than £1 million without agreement from the Minister for the Cabinet Office; a mandatory review of all ICT projects currently underway to identify waste; and a drive to renegotiate contracts with suppliers.
Most of the Group’s initiatives are at a very early stage and it is too early for the National Audit Office to evaluate their effect. The spending watchdog indicates, however, that today’s review will set the ground for future evaluations of these and other initiatives designed to achieve value for money from ICT spending.