MPs have condemned a major IT project for tracking offenders through the criminal justice system as a £513m shambles.
Officials in charge of the C-Nomis IT system lacked a minimum level of competence, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) said yesterday.
Poor management, a culture of over-optimism and failure to subject the project to rigorous challenge were among the top reasons it spiralled out of control before being abandoned two years ago, the committee said in its report.
"This committee has become inured to the dismal procession of government IT failures which have passed before us, but even we are surprised by the extent of the failure of C-Nomis," said Edward Leigh, chairman of the PAC.
The result has been a three-year delay in delivering the tracking capability, with the replacement Nomis project expected to be operational in 2011, he said.
According to the Prison Service, steps have been taken to ensure the mistakes made with C-Nomis are not repeated.