IT will be crucial in making £21bn savings

The government's commitment to make £21bn savings by 2008 across all ministerial departments, which was restated in last week's...

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The government's commitment to make £21bn savings by 2008 across all ministerial departments, which was restated in last week's Budget, will depend on the success of new IT projects and the skills of the IT workforce.

Gordon Brown last week said the government would achieve the £21bn in efficiency savings recommended by the Gershon efficiency review, which was published last year. He said the government had already made £2bn in savings and would hit the £21bn target by 2008.

Philip Virgo, strategic adviser at the Institute for the Management of Information Systems, said, "This is the first Budget where government plans are critically dependent on the ability of Computer Weekly readers to deliver information systems that help meet governments service delivery objectives, and not just technology that meets the terms of the contract."

Quentin Maxwell-Jackson, partner and head of central government advisory services at KPMG, said IT suppliers working for the government would come under increased pressure to deliver promised benefits.

"There will be a focus on a more professional IT procurement from the government, and departments will try to hammer out the best deals," he said. "Suppliers will have to approach the government a lot more like they would a private sector customer."

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