Headlines: May 2nd, 2001

The continuing flow of new large scale computer systems that failed to deliver results, such as those at the Passport Office and the Probation Service, has prompted another initiative to get better value for money from the investment. Last year the Cabinet Office issued an implementation framework for the management of projects. Further help will emerge shortly when the Senior Forum, a group made up of representatives from the public sector and the IT industry, delivers its findings. The Forum is chaired by Peter Gershon, Chief Executive of the Office for Government Commerce and he works with John Higgins at the Computing Services and Software Association. The task for the Forum is to find solutions to the joint systemic issues facing government and industry on government IT enabled projects.The forum has set up working groups to look at issues such as the procurement process, which the IT industry considers tortuous and expensive. There is also a group looking at delivering business change, which has been a major weakness in the past because new computer systems were viewed as a bolt on extra and not as a total organization wide change.

The impact of the Forum’s findings on the way projects are implemented will be measured by the National Audit Office. A framework for measuring success is currently being refined.