There’s plenty of rumour and speculation doing the rounds over the timing and contents of the imminent government IT strategy, due to be released anytime soon by the Cabinet Office.
I’ve been told that it is pretty much finalised and just waiting for ministerial approval and for a time to be scheduled when it is presented to Parliament – a mandatory step before its official release.
I’ve heard the date of 16th March mentioned in despatches, but also that we might initially only see some aspects of the plan released while negotiations continue with Whitehall departments over their efficiency commitments and accountability for IT delivery.
Despite all the speculation, much of which may yet prove unfounded, we know already that the Cabinet Office will be keeping a very tight rein on IT spending – any contracts with a lifetime value over a measly £5m still need to be centrally approved.
One of the most eagerly awaited aspects of the strategy will be the degree to which it will help the government redress the balance of power that has sat with its major suppliers for so long.
In recent months we have been promised a commitment to buying from SMEs, more conformance to open standards and greater adoption of open source – all designed to open up the public sector IT market to a wider range of suppliers and increase competition.
We also know that those major suppliers are likely to do what they can to maintain the status quo.
So perhaps it’s not surprising if the publication of the strategy is taking longer than some had hoped – but the anticipation is building. Watch this space.