Pay attention, Sir Humphrey

What does it take for central government to learn the lessons from IT failure? If the report by MPs published last week is correct, the Office of Government Commerce has been unable to get the right messages across.

What does it take for central government to learn the lessons from IT failure? If the report by MPs published last week is correct, the Office of Government Commerce has been unable to get the right messages across.

The Public Accounts Committee's report into the OGC's ability to improve IT project management highlights a determined effort to put things right through Gateway reviews and a series of best practice and knowledge sharing schemes.

But it says that government departments are still not paying sufficient attention to the OGC initiatives, particularly to Gateway reviews.

The question is what will make these departments pay attention? The answers, the MPs quite rightly say, are publicity and money.

Computer Weekly has argued that only increased transparency and public scrutiny of IT projects will lead to genuine accountability in government IT projects and with it genuine prospects of success.

MPs on the PAC have accepted our argument and are calling for the publication of Gateway reviews. They also suggest the Treasury could withhold funding for projects that ignore best practice.

Instead of bluster about how much IT project management has improved in recent years, isn't it time ministers accepted the committee's proposals?

With central government IT consuming £2.3bn a year, no one can afford any more failure.

 

 

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