Government scrapped IT projects worth £1.2bn

The government has released details of large IT systems worth almost £1.2bn scrapped in the past five years, but has ignored other projects known to be in trouble and possibly headed for the scrap heap.

The government has released details of large IT systems worth almost £1.2bn scrapped in the past five years, but it has ignored other big projects known to be in trouble and possibly headed for the scrap heap.

The information emerged in response to written parliamentary questions from Scottish National MP Pete Wishart.

The biggest cancelled project was in 2008, the £1.1bn deal with Fujitsu to provide IT systems for local health care outlets in the south of England NHS National Programme for IT (NPfIT). This was subsequently taken up by BT.

Accenture walked away from NPfIT contracts worth £2bn four years ago after providing for a £250m loss on the projects. It escaped with just a £63m penalty instead of a possible 50% of contract value. CSC, an existing NPfIT contractor, picked up the Accenture business for an unknown sum.

The government recently scrapped the highly centralised NPfIT in favour of giving local health authorities more freedom to choose their IT systems and networking the information slows together. The move was aimed at saving £700m.

Among the very big government projects known to be running late and/or over budget are the £1bn EADS-managed FireControl system for the Department of Local Government and Communities, and the Ministry of Defence's £5bn Atlas project to provide the military with a secure integrated information infrastructure.

The government made no mention of the proposed multibillion-pound "Big Brother" Interception Modernisation Programme initiated under the previous Labour administration to monitor all digital traffic transmitted in the UK, which is also believed to be under review.

Cancelled due to unforseen circumstances  
 
Project Value (£000)
Kew Gardens back office system 140
Rural Payments Agency 870
MoD Land Information Architecture Office 4,800
NHS Fujitsu local services 1,100,000
NHS Fujitsu help desk 55,000
MoJ National Enforcement Tracker system 4,300
MoJ Courts Service document tracking system 6,000
DWP contact management services 6,190
DfID Pakistan office 7
Total 1,177,307
Source: Hansard

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