Government computer failures add up to huge bills for taxpayers

The government comes in for huge criticism in today’s The Independent Newspaper (19 January 2010)
Banner headlines shout:

“Ministers blamed for “stupendous incompetence” after tax payers left with huge bills for bungled projects”

The article highlights 10 notorious projects including the most costly programme; the £12.7 Billion IT system designed to revolutionise the NHS. The article questions the benefits of the system with pledges going unfulfilled for many years.

The Independent suggests that “Government departments right across Whitehall have been guilty of overseeing embarrassing IT failures” and that IT experts are too easily wooed by suppliers. “Insiders said a lack of expertise within the Government about the technology industry meant they were willing to believe claims made by major IT firms before contracts were awarded.”

Politics clearly plays its part and Tony Collins Executive editor at Computer Weekly says that. “There are too few people in the hierarchy of Labour who understand IT enough to understand that it is not a talisman – there is nothing magical about it.” David Cameron, Leader of the Conservative Party has signalled a move away from big IT projects, suggesting he will use technology to increase the transparency of government. Collins however suggest that “Once you’ve got civil servants giving you a host of reasons why you should not be more open, I fear the Tories will sink into the same depths of secrecy that Labour has found itself in.”

The article then lists 10 “botched” projects – pretty awful reading. When will we ever learn?

You can read the full article here.

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