Report Highlights Failing Government IT Projects

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Several major projects show signs of serious trouble, finds the Infrastructure and Projects Authority

The Infrastructure and Projects Authority (IPA) has rated 17 government IT projects as red or amber/red in its annual report, indicating a low chance of them being successfully implemented.

The IPA’s report looked at 143 major projects, including 36 IT projects, with two of those rated red, namely the Home Office’s implementation of an Oracle enterprise resource planning (ERP) system and the Department for Transport’s (DfT) move to the Cabinet Office’s shared services centre.

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Shared services

The government introduced two shared services centres in 2013, one created through the DfT’s divestment of its centre to Arvato and the other a joint venture operated by Steria and the Cabinet Office.

The NAO earlier this year found problems with the centre’s migration to Arvato, while the Cabinet Office centre is rated as amber/red in the IPA’s latest report.

The IPA said the Ministry of Justice’s (MoJ) £411m electronic monitoring programme lacked a “baseline plan”.

The project moved from amber to amber/red between April 2015 and April 2016, as did the the government’s Future IT Sourcing (FITS) programme, the IPA said.

“Less than 1 percent (0.25 percent) of the total value of all projects is rated red,” the government stated. “However this does not mean that a project cannot be completed successfully, if prompt action is taken to address the main issues.”

Improvements

The National Offender Management Service (NOMS) moved from a red rating to amber, the IPA’s report found.

Green-rated projects include the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s (FCO) ICT re-procurement programme and the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) Fraud, Error and Debt focus.

IPA chief executive Tony Meggs said the IPA is introducing programmes designed to improve the performance of government infrastructure projects over time, including an increased focus on early intervention, a new performance-measurement framework, continued development of the project delivery capability in government and establishing and supporting a peer group for departments engaged in transformation projects.

Progress remains steady, but there are still too many projects which remain in the low delivery confidence range for too long,” Meggs said in a statement.

In the report the IPA, formed earlier this year through the merger of the Major Projects Authority (MPA) and Infrastructure UK, examined the state of 143 projects ongoing as of April 2016, representing total lifetime spending of $403bn.

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