Taxpayers are paying a heavy price for the repeated failure of government IT projects according to a report from Parliament's Public Accounts Committee.
The publication summarises the lessons of 25 reports on government IT published by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) and the National Audit Office (NAO) over the last decade.
David Davis, chair of the Public Accounts Committee, said project failures in the Government's £7bn-plus IT spend, "have impaired the ability of public bodies to do their job properly, to manage and develop their businesses, and to use effectively and account for public funds for which they are responsible".
Davis also warned "the failure to deliver IT projects successfully jeopardises the Government's programme of Modernising Government".
Ian McCartney, Minister of State at the Cabinet Office, welcomed the report and, despite this summer's debacles at the Passport Office and Immigration Service, said the Government was now "effectively tackling many of the issues raised".
Tony Blair charged McCartney with heading a comprehensive review of government IT projects last October. He claimed many of the project difficulties highlighted by the committee were the fault of previous Conservative governments.
"Much has been done to straighten past problems," he said, promising, "This work will be strengthened by the launch of the Government's first-ever corporate IT strategy in March."
Simons Hughes, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesman, whose parliamentary questions last month led the government to detail continuing IT delays and cost overruns at the Home Office, was less confident.
"The Public Accounts Committee members must be weary of exposing the same problems again and again," said Hughes. "Ian McCartney says ministers are listening and lessons will be applied. We will hold him to that pledge."
Jonathan Baume, general secretary of the Association of First Division Civil Servants, which represents Whitehall's most senior civil servants, welcomed many of the report's recommendations.
However, he said, "the Public Accounts Committee has cited 25 examples of problems with government IT projects. Given the size, complexity and sheer volume of public sector IT projects, I don't believe this represents a worse track record than that of the private sector".
Baume added, "The poor ethical, consumer care and technical standards of the IT industry itself are a fundamental part of the problem."
Politicians, civil servants and the IT industry may not be able to agree who is to blame for the sorry state of so many government IT projects, but Baume has a pretty direct line on preventing future problems.
"The simplest solution to ensure projects come in on time, within budget, and fully functional must be to refuse to pay any money to suppliers and manufacturers until this has been shown to be the case," he said.
Whether politicians or Baume's members in Whitehall's corridors of power have the guts to suggest such a thing is another question.
The public Accounts Commitee's key recommendations
Inception and design of projects
Relationships with suppliers
Post implementation issues