Headlines: November 22nd, 2001

A joint government and industry group believes it has developed a framework to put an end to the cost and time overruns associated with previous IT project failures. The Senior IT Forum, jointly sponsored by the Office of Government Commerce and the Computing Services and Software Association was given the task of finding ways to deliver better IT projects and to create a government market place more accessible for suppliers. They found a number of barriers obstructing the way forward. They included lack of clear private sector leadership, lack of transparency to suppliers of the assessment of value for money, lack of openness and trust between government and industry and contracts that failed to encourage partnering behaviour.Behavioural patterns were found to have often been at the heart of the difficulties in delivering facilities and services and the Forum has developed a framework to improve cultural understanding and strengthen leadership. In future the Senior Responsible Owner (SRO) from the government side and an Industry Equivalent (IE) from the industry side will work jointly to set the basis on which the two parties will work together to deliver the IT-enabled business change. They will seek to resolve issues arising from cultural differences.

The Office for Government Commerce will shortly issue guidance on how value for money is determined by public bodies and on drafting contracts that support effective partnering. There will also be a Wider Commercial Skills training programme to include developments in this area of IT with the possibility of joint training with government and industry. The IT industry is working with OGC to develop its own code of conduct for its members to set out standards of behaviour and conduct for suppliers working with government.