Tory manifesto: what about the promise to publish Gateway reviews?

On the “Make IT Better” website, which is run by the Conservative Party, is a promise to publish  gateway reviews “when they are produced, and allow the public to scrutinise the value and progress of a project”.

This was confirmed in my interview with Francis Maude, the Shadow Conservative Cabinet Office minister.

But the Tory promise to publish all gateway reviews in full didn’t make it into the draft Conservative manifesto – nor into the Conservative Manifesto 2010 which was published yesterday.

There’s not a single mention of gateway reviews in the Manifesto.

But Conservative Central Office insisted yesterday that the Party plans to publish “all gateway reviews”. Its spokesman Giles Kenningham said in an email to me:

 “We will publish all gateway reviews. I don’t think we can be any clearer.”



Gateway Reviews are the only sure way for thepublic, media and MPs to know how an IT project is progressing. The reviews areindependent assessments of of risky IT-enabled projects and programmesat various times in their lifecycle.

The National Audit Office occasionally reports on an IT-related project or programme, though with notable exceptions, they are usually retrospective. 

Would the ConservativeParty, if it wins the election, really want those outside Parliament and the government knowinghow well its IT projects and programmes are progressing?

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Iunderstand that the Office of Government Commerce, which runs theGateway review scheme, is preemptively planning to publish gatewayreviews – but with the most relevant information, about the state of theproject, deleted.

Which is like a school publishing its examresults with the results removed, leaving only the name and details ofthe school, such as the number of pupils.

Perhaps the OGC hastaken advice from the writers of Yes Minister on how to react to theTory plans to publish gateway reviews.  

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Froman episode of Yes Minister:
Bernard:Surely the citizens of a democracy have a right to know?
Sir Humphrey Appleby: No. They have a rightto be ignorant. Knowledgeonly means complicity in guilt; ignorance has a certain dignity.

Conservativemanifesto – what it means for the IT industry – ZDnet 
 
Toriesare slippery on committing to government IT reform – IT ProjectsBlog

Conservativetechnology commitments – eDemocracyBlog.com

Did Gateway Review process let down Student Loans Company? – IT Projects blog

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Sir Humphrey is definitely here to stay then.

Wonder if the OGC publications will look anything like the Intelligence and Security Committee Report of 2009? (http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2009/mar/06/mi5-gchq-computer-terrorism-intelligence)

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