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The Cancellation of the Benefits Payment Card project

“There may be a temptation to think that the Payment Card project failed solely because it was large and complex or because it was a pioneer PFI project. This was not the case. Various factors contributed to the project’s failure and their effects are difficult to disentangle. Important reasons were divided control, insufficient time for specifying the requirement and piloting, and that a shared, open approach to risk management was not achieved.”

Our examination found that:

The report highlights key lessons on risk management, the procurement of complex IT systems, and procurement by more than one purchaser, including:

In March 2000 the Treasury PFI taskforce issued new guidance on PFI contracts for Information Technology. In May 2000 the Cabinet Office published recommendations for improving the way in which the government approaches and manages major Information Technology projects. Had this guidance existed and been applied in the case of this project, it may have substantially reduced the risk of it failing, or alternatively have led to the project not proceeding in the way it did.

18 Aug 2000