Key parts of the Department of Transport project, called Tan21, are running late, with one important part of the initiative - an online self-service system for road hauliers to update operators' licences - now 18 months' behind schedule, Computer Weekly has learned.
The self-service portal will replace a manual system which has been described by industry body the Freight Transport Association as so poor that it is leaving many truck fleet operators with doubts about the legal status of their fleets.
The £9m self-service portal has been rescheduled twice because of problems securing and integrating the system. A number of software suppliers are involved in developing the project.
Don Foster MP, Liberal Democrat shadow transport secretary, said, "It is extremely disappointing that the Tan project appears to have missed all of its original timetable.
"Yet spending by the department on the scheme continues to rise year on year, with more than £12m spent in the past year alone and a total of over £50m spent since 1997," he added.
"Given the sums involved, the delays on what is an increasingly botched project must be a concern," Foster said.
Christine Norris, business development and communications director for Tan21, said, "The system has mostly gone live. We are still conducting trials on the self-service system and are having the usual problems that one gets with IT projects."
Tan21 is a wide-ranging project with a budget last year of £15.3m.
It aims to link the department's traffic areas - regional bodies which oversee most road traffic matters - with other transport bodies such as the DVLA, the Vehicle Inspectorate and the Driving Standards Authority to create an integrated road transport administration system. This will also require the bodies' computer systems to be linked.
A Department of Transport spokeswoman said, "It is overdue because there has been a problem with the self-service system. We are examining how the system works and will not launch until we are certain it is running correctly."
A spokeswoman for CMG one of the suppliers for the Tan project, said, "CMG fully and successfully delivered on the specific responsibilities it held within this project, within the agreed timescales."
The price of integrated transport
- The Department of Transport's Tan21 project will create an integrated road transport administration system and has cost £50m so far
- The online self-service system will provide road haulage operators with a portal to renew their licences. It has cost £9m and is 18 months late.