Major Scottish Government IT Projects “Confused”

In a Letter_to_Colin_Cook _Director, Digital Scottish Government from the_Convener, the  Scottish Parliament’s Public Audit and Post-Legislative Scrutiny Committee said there was some confusion over who is ultimately responsible for the delivery of public sector IT projects.

The letter from the Holyrood Committee follows a string of recent IT setbacks, including NHS 24, Police Scotland’s i6 programme and the CAP Futures programme.

In the past five years, the Scottish public sector has spent around £4 billion on IT, with more than £856 million spent on procuring IT in 2015/16 alone.

The committee have requested more information on the following points:

  • a clear explanation of exactly how different parts of the public sector are
    working together to deliver IT programmes;
  • how clear lines of accountability are being maintained in a time of increased
    partnership working;
  •  a concise guide or diagram that clearly sets out lines of accountability across
    Scottish Government and the wider public sector.

They have also requested updates every 6 months from the Scottish Government on major IT projects.

The Committee has further asked for information concerning:

  • IT vacancy levels across the Scottish Government
  • further information on the IT costs described in the Financial Memorandum for the Social Security Bill
  • an assurance that the Scottish Government has carried out appropriate checks on any academics from whom it is seeking advice, in order to ensure there are no potential conflicts of interest
  • a detailed explanation of how the following figures in Digital’s written submission was calculated and when they are expected to materialise

Jackie Baillie MSP, Acting Convener of the Public Audit and Post-Legislative Scrutiny Committee , said:

Scottish Parliament

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“The recent string of IT failures clearly demonstrates that there is a significant problem for the Scottish Government and other public bodies to address.

“With this in mind, the Scottish Government must be clear about who is ultimately accountable for the delivery of IT projects.

“It is essential that the Scottish Government’s next digital initiatives are successful, as the loss to the public purse and loss of public confidence has been substantial. That’s why our Committee has written to the Scottish Government to outline our concerns and request updates on major IT projects in the future.”

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