The government is making good progress on its ICT strategy but is failing to measure the outcomes of the changes it is making, according to a new report from the National Audit Office.
Overall, the NAO commended the Cabinet Office’s progress with the strategy but observed that it has yet to develop a system for measuring sustained change across central government. It has also failed to agree on baseline metrics by which to measure progress.
Around 70 people have worked on planning and implementing the strategy since it was announced in March, the report found, and twice as many will be needed over the next 18 months. However, the report said there was no evidence that the CIO Delivery Board has to plan in place to secure these resource. The resulting ga in ICT skills will hinder the progress of the strategy, it said.
Overall, the NAO commended the progress made by the government as it aims to tackle "systemic problems in government ICT projects which in the past have tended to be too big, lengthy, risky and complex". The NAO said that the government had adopted a "pragmatic and collaborative approach and has largely met the first round of deadlines for taking action.
"New ways of working are as dependent on developing the skills of people in the public sector as they are on changes to technology and processes," remarked NAO head Amyas Morse. "The big challenge is to ensure that the strategy delivers value in each of these areas.
In other public sector IT governance news, the progress of the IT project to support the government’s new Universal Credit scheme was discussed in the House of Lords this morning.
The House heard that the project, which involves building a system to integrate data between HM Revenue and Customs and the Department of Work and Pensions in real-time, is so far on time and on budget. Pilot projects are set to commence in April next year, the House heard, with full implementation taking place between April and October 2013.