Public sector IT should publicise its successes, says Suffolk

The IT industry in the public sector needs to be more proud of its successes, government CIO John Suffolk said today.

The IT industry in the public sector needs to be more proud of its successes, government CIO John Suffolk said today.

Talking at the Government IT conference in Westminster today, Suffolk said the way to change public sector IT's reputation was to focus more on what has been done well.

"It is a cultural issue. The IT industry in the UK is embarrassed to talk about success. I do not think we should shy away from saying when things do go to plan, while we also have to recognise the things that are going wrong."

The government's CIO council is now poised to intervene in projects that are going wrong to prevent more financial losses, he revealed.

"The CIO council have agreed a process for intervention if a programme is not going well. We have the ability to go and talk to people who have the accountability for the programme," he said.

"Nobody sets out to fail. The scale and complexity of our projects mean we are breaking new ground. But we have the professionalism agenda, we have peer based reviews, there is a vast amount of activity to make sure that as we deliver the project the IT element is as successful as possible."

Suffolk said he was pleased with the progress of the government's Transformational Agenda, which aims to encourage the development of online services. It is scheduled for completion in 2011.

"In 2002, there was very little online. Now almost every citizen-based transaction is online things have changed in a very short amount of time," he said.

Suffolk said his expectations of the job, which he took on in 2006, had been "spot on".

"My job is to bring people together to do the best thing for the whole public sector. It is not about me dictating - I have no desire to do that. It is about seeing people as a team, asking them what we should do. My role was to implement the transformational government, and that is exactly what we have been focusing on."

Suffolk rejected claims that central government will never be truly joined-up because of cultural differences between departments, and their preference of doing things in their own way.

"Joined up government is happening all over the place - there are many examples of where that is already going on," he said.

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