CfH: we didn't really publish NHS IT Gateway Reviews

There seems a bit of a panic in Whitehall over media coverage of the release of Gateway Reviews on the NHS IT scheme.

The 31 Gateway Reviews were published last week on NHS Connecting for Health’s website. But the Department of Health yesterday issued a guidance note to make it clear that the Department of Health did not actually release the Gateway Reviews on the NPfIT.

They were released by the Office of Government Commerce, and the Department of Health agreed to host the reviews on its website. The Department of Health says it agreed with the decision to divulge the reviews – but it didn’t take the decision to divulge them.

So what’s the fuss about? 

CfH won’t say why it’s a sensitive issue. It appears, however, that the Office of Government Commerce is terrified that other departments will follow the Department of Health and publish their Gateway Reviews. The OGC has spent significant sums of taxpayers’ money on legal fees trying to keep gateway reviews confidential.

Now that it has lost every appeal it has made to keep the reviews confidential it is releasing some of them, but only selectively and only when they’re old enough to be of interest to IT historians.

Hence the following guidance note from CfH:

“23rd June 2009

Guidance note on the reviews of the National Programme for IT.

There has been some incorrect reporting of the Office of Government Commerce (OGC) decision to publish its Gateway reviews of the National Programme for IT (NPfIT)

The Department of Health supported the OGC in its decision to release these reviews.  In order to assist the OGC, and to enable wide circulation of the content, we agreed to host the reviews on the NHS Connecting for Health (NHS CFH) website.

It is not the case that the Department of Health itself ‘released’ or ‘published’ the reviews.”


Methinks Whitehall officials don’t have enough serious matters to occupy themselves.

The Gateway Reviews CfH didn’t publish – CfH website

Big victory for Computer Weekly and FOI – Opendotdotdot blog  

16 key points in Gateway Reviews of NHS IT programme – IT Projects blog

How to fix Government IT Projects – Ron Rosenhead’s Project Management Blog

NPfIT “failed” nine Gateway Reviews – The Register


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