Brown's £6bn IT investment will save front-line services billions

Chancellor Gordon Brown is relying on IT to help deliver billions of pounds of savings for front-line services.

Chancellor Gordon Brown is relying on IT to help deliver billions of pounds of savings for front-line services.

In his three-year Spending Review delivered on Monday, Brown said that the government's £6bn investment in IT would allow the public sector to cut 84,000 jobs. By 2008 this should lead to £21.5bn savings a year.

The programme is in line with the efficiency review conducted by Sir Peter Gershon, the former chief of the Office of Government Commerce, which was published on Monday.

Gershon emphasised the need for Whitehall, local councils and the NHS to get value from the e-government investment they have already made. He called for the Treasury and Cabinet Office e-government Unit to produce a "benchmark standard" for e-government across the rest of Whitehall.

Eric Woods, practice director for analyst group Ovum's public sector service said, "The next few years will see unprecedented scrutiny of the real benefits of IT investments in the NHS, Criminal Justice system, and new HM Revenue and Customs.

"Our main concern is that the emphasis may be too much on potential savings and not enough on the transformative power of IT investment when coupled with a business change programme."

The targets set by Brown include £75m savings at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs delivered in part by streamlining back-office functions and the greater use of online services.

The Department for Transport is expected to deliver £785m savings in part through improved procurement and back office rationalisation. While funds have been set aside for the Ministry of Defence to modernise logistics and business information systems.

There was little other extra money for IT, although the Cabinet Office is doubling its £20m contribution towards local authority spending on business resilience from 2005-6 and the police have been promised extra funds to deliver the IT systems called for in the Bichard Inquiry. 

Read more on IT jobs and recruitment

SearchCIO
SearchSecurity
SearchNetworking
SearchDataCenter
SearchDataManagement
Close