Government claims it will save £1.4bn in ICT costs, according to SIP roadmap strategy


Government claims it will save £1.4bn in ICT costs, according to SIP roadmap strategy

Kathleen Hall

The government aims to cut IT costs by £1.4bn over the next four years through cloud computing, the public services network and datacentre consolidation, according to its ICT Strategic Implementation Plan (SIP).

The SIP fleshes out the government's technology strategy released earlier this year and provides a roadmap for 19 areas of change. These include open source, the use of agile methodologies and a move to digital by default.

Key areas expected to generate savings over the next four years are the creation of the public services network (PSN), estimated to save a total of £390m; a move to the cloud and Government Application Store (£180m); the continuation of the government's moratorium on ICT spend (£650m); datacentre consolidation (£160m); and reducing the cost of procuring devices such as PCs and laptops (£60m).

The government expects to save 7% of its estimated annual £6.5bn ICT budget for central departments once its new ICT infrastructure has been established. This will total yearly savings of £460m by 2015, it said.

According to the SIP, the government's move to cloud computing will take four years to yield significant savings. By December 2012 it expects to have 50 accredited products on the Government Application Store, with 50% of central government ICT spend going through cloud services by December 2015.

Other milestones include ensuring 80% of contract value spend on telecommunications is PSN-accredited by March 2014; using agile techniques in half of major ICT projects by April 2013; and reducing the cost of datacentres by 35% before October 2016.

But the strategy warned of a skills deficiency across government, which makes it difficult for civil servants to take advantage of such new approaches to technology. To combat this problem it proposes an ICT professional curriculum for staff and the creation of an IT and CIO Academy.

Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude said the strategy provided a detailed breakdown of ICT reforms designed to save money. "Government ICT drives the delivery of public services, from government web services for the submission of tax returns to enabling our armed forces to operate in Afghanistan. This government is committed to delivering a better service to the taxpayer on government ICT projects," he said.

Sureyya Cansoy, director of public sector, at trade body Intellect, said the strategy should enable a more competitive market for government IT. "The industry has promoted the need for government to move away from demanding bespoke systems, to a more standardised approach to buying and we welcome the commitment in the plan to make this change."

The SIP will be followed by four sub-strategies which will detail key elements of the ICT strategy dues to be published in the next weeks, including cloud computing and ICT capability.

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