9th June 2005 The British government has been accused of going £2 billion over budget on its IT projects rolling out in the last two years.
The Conservative Party has plundered National Audit Office reports and various parliamentary investigations to produce the figures which show that government IT projects have gone £2 billion over budget since 2003.
The Conservatives decried the “massive waste of public money involved in botched Whitehall IT programmes”.
The projects that have accounted for the waste include the courts computer system, known as Libra, which was initially expected to cost £146 million, but has so far absorbed £450 million, and is not yet fully operational. It has been described by the influential parliamentary Public Accounts Committee as “one of the worst IT projects ever seen.”
Other government IT projects that have gone badly awry include the Government Communications HQ (GCHQ) relocation project. The task, which involved moving computers from two old offices to a single new site, was originally priced at £41 million but to date has cost tax payers more than ten times that figure.
Nevertheless, this project won the ‘presitigious’ Bronze Award in the Operational Performance category of the Management Consultancies Association (MCA) Best Management Practice Awards in 2004.
Shadow Home Secretary David Davis warned that the government’s track record with substantial IT projects could scupper plans to introduce ID cards: “The government’s shambolic record on delivering technology both effectively and on budget totally undermines their claims that any ID card system would be robust.”