Tories will ask armchair auditors to "crawl over" IT projects


Tories will ask armchair auditors to "crawl over" IT projects

Tony Collins

The Conservatives want to "unleash an army of armchair auditors" to crawl over the Government's accounts, looking at IT and other projects see for themselves whether value for money is being delivered.

Shadow Cabinet Office minister Frances Maude told the Conservative Party conference today:

"The UK Government spends more on ICT than any other government and yet the history of UK government ICT projects is littered with budget overruns, delays and functional failures. Huge centralised databases have been created, with a thoroughly casual approach to safeguarding private data.

"We need a fundamental rethink. We need fewer mega-projects; a rigid insistence on open standards and inter-operability; a level playing field for open source software and for smaller suppliers.

"Trust in politics is at an all time low and by making central government transparent and accountable we can start to fix our broken politics. Greater openness and accountability will improve value for money and stop taxpayers' money being wasted.

"We want to unleash an army of 'armchair auditors' to crawl over the Government's accounts - ordinary members of the public who will be able to see for themselves whether their government is really delivering value for money for them."

But Maude proposed few specific measures other than announcing that all contacts over £10,000 being tendered by the government would be published online.

The Conservatives have enlisted the help of Tom Steinberg to help them make government more open and efficient. Steinberg is a digital democracy innovator who helped to build the No 10 petitions website.

He is the founder of mySociety, a non-aligned organisation which builds websites designed to enhance democracy. The sites include TheyWorkForYou which allows people to track their MP's activities and to contact them.

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