Opinion

Stop the party games with IT

Over the past three weeks, the Liberal Democrats, Labour and the Conservatives have spelt out their IT policies.

There is a fair degree of unanimity - that the UK needs a skilled IT workforce and a cheap and efficient telecoms infrastructure. The three parties agree that we need tough law enforcement to keep the internet safe and light-touch regulation to ensure businesses have the freedom to innovate.

But the delivery of government IT could be the key election battleground for technology issues. The parties agree that IT is essential to modernising government and the NHS. This government has invested more in IT than any other. Ministers and voters alike expect to see substantial returns on that investment.

Securing those returns should be an important part of all the parties' manifestos. The Lib-Dems support our Shaking Up Government IT campaign in demanding greater openness and scrutiny of public sector IT projects before they go wrong (Computer Weekly, 21 September).

If this were to become accepted common ground between the parties, the UK could take an important step towards making project failure in the public sector a thing of the past, delivering real service benefits for citizens and improving IT's image.

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This was first published in October 2004

 

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