A series of botched IT projects has left taxpayers with a bill of more than £26bn for computer systems that have suffered severe delays, run millions of pounds over budget or have been cancelled altogether, according to The Independent.
The newspaper quotes a Computer Weekly reporter as saying that Labour had displayed an irrational exuberance on some IT projects, which had sometimes led to good money being thrown after bad.
The Independent said that the total cost of Labour’s 10 most notorious IT failures is “equivalent to more than half of the budget for Britain’s schools last year”.
Early this morning, BBC Radio 4’s Today programme drew attention to the investigation by The Independent of IT projects.
The newspaper says in an editorial that when historians come to compile their tomes on this present government’s domestic record, one achievement will stand out: services to the IT sector.
“All this spending has been wonderful for IT consultants. The trouble is that the public, who as taxpayers have been funding for it, have been considerably less well served.
“From the malfunctioning passports system to the unwieldy NHS supercomputer, ministers have been responsible for presiding over one expensive IT disaster after another.
“The words 'IT' are commonly associated with modernity, progress and efficiency. And this is no doubt why ministers and civil servants so readily and unquestioningly commissioned such lavish projects. Yet what they have evidently been buying all these years is not any of these things but good old-fashioned snake oil,” says The Independent’s editorial.
The projects named by the newspaper include the £12.7bn NPfIT NHS IT scheme, a £350m IT-based Single Payment Scheme for farmers, the £513m C-Nomis system for prisons and the probation service, the £447m Libra scheme for magistrates’ courts. The Independent also quotes the £5bn ID cards scheme.
Computer says no - Independent’s leading article >>