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MPs back publication of Gateway reports

The House of Commons Public Accounts Committee is expected to recommend that Gateway reviews of risky government projects are published - in direct opposition to the Office of Government Commerce.

In a report due to be published today, the committee is also expected to find that the Treasury should determine criteria for withholding funds from IT projects where departments choose consistently to ignore stages of the Gateway process, so increasing the risk of project failure.

According to public spending watchdog the National Audit Office, in 30% of cases, those running projects bypass the first two Gateway reviews. They enter the review process only after the business case has been prepared.

The committee believes there is a strong case for the publication of Gateway review reports, particularly given the repeated failures of public sector IT projects.

Computer Weekly has campaigned for Gateway reviews to be published. We have argued that publication of the reviews would help to strengthen transparency and accountability on large projects, so increasing their chances of success. But the OGC refuses to publish the results of reviews.

Whether all government departments have an equally high regard for the OGC and Gateway reviews is unclear. The Audit Office found that just 45% of senior responsible owners in departments bothered to respond to requests for feedback on the effectiveness of Gateway reviews, which the OGC needs to develop its review process.

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