The National Audit Office (NAO) has launched a report examining the government's new approach to ICT, ahead of the new IT strategy to be published in the spring.
The NAO plans to undertake three cross-government investigations in 2011-12 to assess the value for money of government's overall strategy for ICT, online services and its shared services.
The "ICT in government Landscape Review" breaks government IT functions down into five key areas: online services; business intelligence systems; business systems; back-office systems; and infrastructure.
Margaret Hodge MP, chairwoman of the Public Accounts Committee, said on far too many occasions and for avoidable reasons, IT projects have gone badly wrong. This almost always leads to delays and extra costs to the public purse, she said.
"I welcome today's report, which sets out clearly the challenge facing all departments in future. As I see it, this can be summed up in one question: How can the public sector harness the benefits of information technology, without being overwhelmed by the complexity of IT projects and allowing them to spiral out of control," she said.