Government axes over-budget offender system

The government has axed a £500m IT system to manage offenders because of spiralling costs.

The government has axed a £500m IT system to manage offenders because of spiralling costs.

The National Offender Management Service (NOMIS) system was originally designed to fully integrate prison and probation records, so that the probation service could better manage offenders.

However, after costs rose from an original estimate of £234m to £512m, the government axed it in favour of a scaled-down version of the system that will now not offer full integration of offender records - the original aim of the project.

It is the latest embarrassing IT project failure to hit central government.

David Hanson, minister of prisons, told parliament, "The Nomis programme was suspended when it was identified that there was not sufficient funding for the programme to continue as specified.

"An immediate moratorium on further development work was imposed while a strategic review identified recommendations for the future direction of the programme, and the Ministry of Justice internal auditors carried out a review of the programme."

He said HM Prison Service was to now receive a version of Nomis which will replace the existing case management system.

Arrangements will be made to allow sharing of information between prisons and probation areas through a new "data share" system, which will give read only access to the probation service.

Nomis will not therefore be deployed to the National Probation Service, said Hanson.

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