The Times reports today that the National Audit Office is likely to investigate Whitehall’s biggest computer projects and contracts after disclosures that their costs had exceeded the announced figures by more than £18 billion.
Edward Leigh, chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, said: “As a result of The Times’s investigation I am going to immediately ask the Comptroller and Auditor-General [the head of the NAO] to investigate the whole matter of government IT spending and in particular the contracts highlighted in the paper.”
The NAO, although independent of the government and Parliament, produces reports and briefings for the Public Accounts Committee and will usually agree to the committee’s request for an investigation. The NAO has reported to the committee on several of the individual projects listed by The Times in its joint investigation with Computer Weekly but an aggregated report could point out common factors, problems and lessons.
Government IT projects will cost taxpayers £18bn more than expected – Computer Weekly
Something must be done to break cycle of IT failure – CW Opinion piece in The Times
£18bn Government IT scandal – 3 pages in The Times today