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Will Gov’s over-budget IT overhaul prove “value for money”?

Will Gov’s over-budget IT overhaul prove “value for money”?

Monday 25 October 2021

Will Gov’s over-budget IT overhaul prove “value for money”?


A panel of politicians is launching a review to establish whether the Government’s over-budget overhaul of its outdated IT systems will end up proving “value for money”.

The Integrated Technology Solution (ITS) programme, which aimed to combine the civil service’s creaking finance, HR and other systems into a single modern platform, was first predicted to cost around £28m when it launched in early 2020.

But earlier this year the Government came under fire when it emerged that costs had risen by 125% to nearly £70m in around just 12 months. 

While a report by the Comptroller and Auditor General released last week found that the project itself was generally well-managed with satisfactory oversight, the Government was blasted for being “overly optimistic” when it came to budgeting and calculating costs using processes that were "not sufficiently robust”.

The report also questioned how success of the platform would be measured and how well the ITS would fit into the Government’s other modernisation initiatives.

The Public Accounts Committee – a panel of politicians responsible for keeping an eye on how taxpayers’ cash is spent – is now planning to follow up with its own review.

Inna-Gardiner.jpg

Pictured: Deputy Inna Gardiner, Chair of the Public Accounts Committee, which has started a review.

They’ll be calling key players involved in the project before them for a grilling over the cost of installing and running the new ITS systems, whether the timetable for the overhaul is “unrealistic”, and the programmes for training staff in the resulting system and whether the right people are in charge.

The Committee’s Chair, Deputy Inna Gardiner, commented: “The Public Accounts Committee supports the C&AG’s conclusions and will follow up this work to ensure that the ITS Project demonstrates value for money. 

“We understand the need to replace out of date, unsupported IT systems, but we must make sure it is done as smoothly and as cost-effectively as possible and delivers improved public services.”

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Posted by Richard Lock on
The forthcoming review into the ITS programme is to be welcomed. The scale of the overspend is truly scandalous and possibly reckless. Everyone in business is aware that such projects are prone to going over budget- so where were the checks and controls in this instance and who was approving the monumental extra expenditure ? Those responsible must be exposed and take the consequences.
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