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

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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 the public, media and MPs to know how an IT project is progressing. The reviews are independent assessments of of risky IT-enabled projects and programmes at 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 Conservative Party, if it wins the election, really want those outside Parliament and the government knowing how well its IT projects and programmes are progressing?

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I understand that the Office of Government Commerce, which runs the Gateway review scheme, is preemptively planning to publish gateway reviews - but with the most relevant information, about the state of the project, deleted.

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

Perhaps the OGC has taken advice from the writers of Yes Minister on how to react to the Tory plans to publish gateway reviews.  

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From an episode of Yes Minister:

Bernard: Surely the citizens of a democracy have a right to know?

Sir Humphrey Appleby: No. They have a right to be ignorant. Knowledge only means complicity in guilt; ignorance has a certain dignity.

Conservative manifesto - what it means for the IT industry - ZDnet 
 
Tories are slippery on committing to government IT reform - IT Projects Blog

Conservative technology commitments - eDemocracyBlog.com

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

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1 Comment

  • 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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