CIO Council to rate project success

A new super-group of government chief information officers was expected to discuss how to improve the success rate of large IT...

A new super-group of government chief information officers was expected to discuss how to improve the success rate of large IT projects at its first meeting last Friday.

The CIO Council has been brought together by Ian Watmore, who took up his position of government CIO and head of the e-government unit in September 2004.

Last week's meeting of about 25 CIOs included representatives of central and local government, the health service and the wider public sector.

One of the challenges facing CIOs is considering how to implement project management best practice in the face of political pressures.

The Cabinet Office's Successful IT document, published in 2000, is expected to be discussed by the council. The document said projects should not take longer than 18 months from business case approval through to formal project closure.

It also warned that IT projects often fail because they are not seen as part of business change but as an end in themselves.

However, projects such as the NHS national programme for IT and the Libra scheme for magistrates courts did not fully take business change into account when given the go-ahead.

Further challenges for the group include ensuring that IT is sufficiently reliable and flexible to allow jobs to be cut in line with efficiency proposals by the chancellor Gordon Brown. The government is relying on technology to cut £20bn by 2008.

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