Ministers pledge IT fresh start

Government proposals to improve public sector IT project performance have won qualified support from public sector watchdogs, analysts and users

Government proposals to avert public-sector IT disasters won qualified support from public-sector watchdogs, analysts and users.

They welcomed the 30 key measures to improve IT project performance announced by Cabinet Office minister Ian McCartney this week, but stressed they must be fully implemented.

Launching a new document Successful IT: Modernising Government in Action, McCartney declared he was drawing a line in the sand after a decade of failure.

Strong political leadership, backed by clearly defined project and risk management techniques, said the minister, were the keys to breaking the cycle of failure that has blighted so many projects.

The National Audit Office has produced a series of stinging reports and the all-party Public Accounts Committee has highlighted cost overruns, technical problems and control failures in 25 major IT projects over the past 10 years.

Martin Pfleger, deputy auditor general, cautiously welcomed the 30-point plan saying, "This has the potential to be a landmark in the development of public-sector IT project management, if the recommendations are implemented in full."

David Davis, chairman of the PAC commented, "If implemented in full the recommendations should lead to a change in the management of public-sector IT projects."

Analysts agreed. Bloor's Martin Brampton told Computer Weekly, "The recommendations sound excellent and will be excellent if they are put into practice."

The IT suppliers' organisation the CSSA was enthusiastic about the review believing there was a real chance to make the report's recommendations a success.

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