The Cabinet Office’s IT plans

The possibilities of better use of technology to improve government have often come up on this site, so readers may find of interest what the Cabinet Office’s Draft Structural Reform Plan (a set of priorities for each department) says on the matter:

Cabinet Office logo3.1 Increase powers of CIO to drive the integration and improve value for money of ICT infrastructure
i. Set up infrastructure for new CIO office and increase central CIO powers
ii. Start the roll out cross-departmental asset register on a common ICT infrastructure
iii. Publish performance details on all ICT projects above £1m

3.2 Conduct negotiations with suppliers to reduce annual ICT spend immediately

3.3 Create new procurement process with Treasury
i. Identify cross-department pipeline of upcoming /ongoing tenders/negotiations through the moratorium and project review
ii. Agree with Treasury conditions under which a project is “released” from moratorium
iii. Work with OGC to develop a new approach to ICT procurement enabling greater use of SMEs, a much shorter timescale and lower costs to all parties

3.4 Identify ICT projects/programmes to terminate and organise/assure decommissioning
i. Support Department for Education and Home Office in decommissioning / reshaping Contact Point and ID Cards
ii. Identify computer systems for decommissioning, then conduct decommissioning with departments

3.5 Create new processes for commissioning and running IT projects and services

i. Create level playing field for open source software and consider government cloud computing
ii. Establish government wide open standards (including those relating to security)
iii. Establish IT skunk works team to assess and develop faster ways of developing ICT
iv. Publish guidance on the £100m maximum contract size and the aspiration to reduce the scale of large ICT projects

3.6 Devise a government-wide strategy on digital engagement and enablement

The £100m cap on individual IT contracts along with open standards and a level playing fields for open source software could bring huge changes in the way government ITis procurred and works (or, more to the point, doesn’t work). Writing good plans is easy of course; changing reality is rather tougher. Early signs, such as the open government licence, have been promising though.

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  • My gob is well and truly smacked!! Not at what has been written, but the apparent implication that some of this wasn’t done before. Just for starters:

    “ii. Start the roll out cross-departmental asset register on a common ICT infrastructure”
    “3.2 Conduct negotiations with suppliers to reduce annual ICT spend immediately”
    “ii. Establish government wide open standards (including those relating to security)”

    What has been happening for the last 13 years? To quote our American cousins – business 101 – that’s what this accounts to

  • Darren Reynolds 7th Oct '10 - 3:13pm

    Introducing an upper limit for spend is a very sensible step and it should be a very rare project that touches the £100m project.

  • Andrew Suffield 7th Oct '10 - 9:29pm

    What has been happening for the last 13 years?

    Throwing money at contractors for doing nothing, mostly. In the IT industry, the UK government is widely regarded as a bad joke.

    If they can pull this off, that would be good.

  • It actually sounds like someone who knows something about IT might have written this plan. As the other comments say: what the hell were Labour doing for 13 years?

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