Cut IT projects to reduce public spending, says Institute of Directors

11 Sep 2009 View Comments
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ID cards would be abolished under the IoD plan

The ContactPoint children's database, the NHS National Programme for IT (NPfIT), and the identity cards scheme should all be abolished, according to a plan to save £50bn a year of public spending put forward by the Institute of Directors and the TaxPayers' Alliance.

The report claims that abolishing ContactPoint would save £44m from 2010-11 onwards, the annual running costs of the database.

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"Given the government’s appalling data security record, the children’s database is
an accident waiting to happen. It should be abolished," says the report.

Scrapping NPfIT will save £1.2bn a year, says the report, because it was never wanted by most NHS clinicians; it is running late; has unresolved issues over patient confidentiality; and it is too expensive.

Abolishing identity cards would save £55m from 2010-11 onwards, which represents the Identity and Passport Service’s (IPS) estimate of the gross costs of providing ID cards to British and Irish citizens in 2010-11. The figure does not include the cost of biometric passports.

"Even if we accept the government’s own cost projections, abolishing the [ID cards] programme will still save up to £1.3bn over the next decade," says the report.

The Conservatives have promised to abolish identity cards and have proposed alternatives to the summary care record, which is the main expense of the NPfIT. They have also heavily criticised ContactPoint.

Miles Templeman, director general of the Institute of Directors, said cuts desperately need to be made.

"Businesses are right now making savings and cutting back on costs to get through the recession, and there is no reason why the public sector should not have to do the same," he said.

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