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IPA rates several government IT projects as red or amber/red

The Infrastructure and Projects Authority gives several IT projects a low rating of red or amber/red, including HMRC’s Aspire exit and the Home Office’s Oracle ERP project

17 government IT projects are rated red or amber/red by the Infrastructure and Projects Authority (IPA), according to its annual report, meaning their likelihood of success is low.

The IPA’s annual report looks at the 143 major projects in government, including 36 ICT projects. Two of those projects – the Home Office’s Oracle enterprise resource planning (ERP) system and the Department for Transport’s (DfT) move to the Cabinet Office’s shared service centre – are rated red. 

In 2013, Whitehall announced plans to save £600m per year through the two shared service centres – one provided through the divestment of the DfT’s Shared Service Centre to Arvato, the other provided by Shared Services Connected Limited (SSCL), a joint venture between Steria and the Cabinet Office.

A report by the NAO earlierin 2016 found that Arvato “encountered significant issues with data migration, citing problems with extracting data from the existing systems that it owns and manages under the contract”. It also found that there are “residual problems with the platform design”.

The other shared service centre isn’t faring much better, and has been rated amber/red. 

The Ministry of Justice’s (MoJ) electronic monitoring programme also came under fire for “lack of a baseline plan” for its £411m project.

The MoJ said it has conducted a review of the red-rated programme, looking at how to get it back on track after “significant problems and delays”. 

“We are also proceeding with changes to the way the programme is managed. These changes will allow us to continue to drive and oversee delivery from suppliers,” it said.

IT projects often red or amber

The IPA said that an analysis of delivery confidence assessments “shows that the majority of projects rated red or amber/red are transformation or ICT”.

Projects where “successful delivery appears to be unachievable” are rated red, while projects where “successful delivery is in doubt” are rated amber/red.

The Home Office’s £307m replacement for its failed e-borders project is also rated amber/red, although the department said the project is “on track for its pilot phase”. However, due to the rating, “efforts are being directed towards further validating the forecast delivery timescales”.

By 2019, the Home Office estimates it will have spent £1.1bn on e-borders and its successor programme

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the rural payments digital service also features on the list of projects rated amber/red, as does HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) Aspire exit.

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As reported by Computer Weekly in June 2016, the IPA remains concerned with four areas of the programme, including “the willingness and ability of Aspire suppliers to make the required improvements in delivery performance and value for money, and the capability of HMRC to manage this process”.

The IPA said it’s working closely with the Cabinet Office to consider “potential issues associated with the large number of IT contracts scheduled to expire over the course of this parliament”.

“Our approach is to work with government departments to ensure they have the right level of support to facilitate the successful exit of these contracts and the establishment of new arrangements, which will provide better customer service at a lower cost,” the IPA said in its report.

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