Headlines: August 29th, 2000

The public sector has been criticised for two more IT projects which have overspent and failed to deliver. The Ministry of Defence is criticised by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) for losses incurred on IT projects of 21 million pounds on a Common User Data System and 8.7 million pounds on a Pay Replacement System 2 project.The Common User Data System project, was a bespoke system conceived in the1980s that took too long to implement and was eventually overtaken by developments in IT, such that it was obsolete even before it had been made to work properly. The requirements that the system was designed to meet were eventually satisfied by commercial off-the-shelf packages at a fraction of the cost. According to PAC, both the systems criticised could have stemmed the loss to the public purse had they been suspended sooner.

When considering future proposals for bespoke IT systems, the MOD has been warned to recognise the high risks. The MOD has responded to the PAC report by saying that it has changed its policies with regards to IT systemprocurement since the two projects criticised were launched in 1989 and 1994.