Publish Gateway review data, says government CIO

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Publish Gateway review data, says government CIO

Tony Collins

The government's new CIO, John Suffolk, wants some information from Gateway reviews of major, high-risk IT-related projects in the public sector to be published.

In his first interview since becoming government CIO in June, Suffolk said he would like the "traffic light" status of a project - red, amber or green - to be published, together with a summary of the broad strengths and weaknesses of the scheme.

"I would be comfortable with that," he said.

Gateway reviews are mandatory, independent checks on the progress of large, high-risk, government IT-related projects and programmes. They are carried out by the Treasury's Office of Government Commerce, which has repeatedly blocked requests under the Freedom of Information Act to publish the results of reviews.

Office of Government Commerce officials have argued that the reviews contain confidential advice from civil servants to the senior responsible owners of projects.

Computer Weekly, supported by MPs of the three main parties, has called for the reviews to be published to enable costly schemes to be scrutinised by parliament, taxpayers and those involved in the programmes, including end-users and suppliers.

Some departments and agencies do not let even their main IT suppliers see the results of Gateway reviews.

Suffolk advocated the release of information from Gateway reviews in a way that does not deter civil servants from discussing frankly the progress or difficulties on projects.

He said, "Some agencies publish their reviews very widely, to all the stakeholders and all of the boards involved. Some do not.

"My belief is that the time is right to consider whether we do publish some basic information on a Gateway."

 

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