In Computer Weekly's review of the best of the IT year in 2010, we look back at the top 10 public sector IT stories.
It has been a tumultuous year for everyone in public sector IT - a new government, massive budget cuts announced, and job uncertainty too. But it has also been an opportunity for the best of those in IT to show the importance of technology for cost-effective public services.
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The Cabinet Office is preparing to take control of the government's digital channels after an eventful week that saw the resignation of the Directgov CEO in advance of Martha Lane Fox's review of the website. Lane-Fox, the web entrepreneur appointed as the government's digital champion in June, recommended in her strategic review of DirectGov that the Cabinet Office "appoint a new CEO" to oversee digital publishing across all government departments.
The new coalition government has pledged to continue improving access to government-held data as part of its Big Society initiative. The government announced that its "people power" ideas would drive future public service reform and said it would release data to help inform people of the situation in their local community.
The Conservative and LibDem coalition document has some pointers on the new government's approach to IT, with a section dedicated to IT-related policies. The focus is on open source software and the publication of government data and the coalition also says steps will be taken to "open up government procurement and reduce costs".
John Suffolk (pictured) has announced he is to step down at the end of the year in a major blow to government technology strategy. Suffolk - ranked the fifth most influential person in UK IT - has been working on the largest overhaul of IT contracting and execution the UK government has ever experienced, in a job that is arguably one of the most challenging in the industry at the moment, with huge pressure to cut spending to the bone.
Prime minister David Cameron has attacked what he calls the "crazy decisions" made on government IT spending over the past decade, after Sir Philip Green's review of purchasing highlighted the "shocking" inefficiency of IT buying. IT was one of the primary targets identified by Green for improvement, as he called for changes to a process that sees "expensive IT services contracted for too long with no flexibility".
After several months of silence, senior civil servants are starting to speak more about what the next few months might hold for central government IT. Details of future plans for public sector IT have been scant since the establishment of the coalition government in May, but civil servants are now gearing up to make a raft of announcements after months of reviewing spending and strategy.
The UK government has imposed an immediate freeze on all new IT spending above £1m, and reviews of the biggest IT projects are being set up to see which can be stopped.
A new group, the Efficiency and Reform Group, has been set up by the Treasury and Cabinet Office, with the power to enforce spending cuts across Whitehall.
The government plans to cut £95m from its IT spending as part of its effort to save £6.24bn in its first round of cuts. It also wants to save £163m with a recruitment freeze across the civil service, and £836m via cuts in the business department. Chancellor George Osborne said in his speech that the savings will include "nearly £2bn from IT programmes, suppliers and property", and chief secretary to the Treasury David Laws provided further details.
The G-Cloud is shaping up to be a key part of the government's new IT strategy, with more details on the project emerging ahead of this month's raft of announcements. While most are anticipating the government's planned cuts with trepidation, October will also see some new projects launched that are designed to overhaul the way government IT works, bringing new opportunities as well as reducing costs.
Seven chief information officers (CIOs) are among the highest paid civil servants in the UK, earning a maximum of £250,000. The list of 173 civil servants who earn more than the prime minister was published today by the Cabinet Office in an attempt to increase transparency in government.