Maude defends government ICT after PASC criticism

By Sooraj Shah
30 Jan 2012 View Comments
Tory Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude

Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude has defended the government after it was attacked last week by the Public Administration Select Committee (PASC) for a lack of progress in its ICT Strategic Implementation Plan.

In his response to the Civil Service watchdog's criticism, Maude admitted that government ICT has had an "unenviable reputation" but said that the government's recent work showed that its ICT strategy was moving in the right direction.

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"We are determined to deliver world-class public services that offer value for taxpayers' money and we know that effective and efficient ICT is crucial in this," Francis said in a statement.

"As well as getting the major players in central government involved in the implementation of the strategy we already have foundation delivery partners delivering their email services via cloud and other partners using the Public Services Network," he added.

Maude said that the actions the Cabinet Office is taking will result in reduced waste, avoidance of expensive project failures and the installation of smart technology systems to improve the delivery of public services, which would all contribute to substantial savings.

Maude's statement comes as a response to the PASC report Government and IT = "A recipe for rip-offs": time for a new approach: Further report  released last week.

The report said that the government failed to act on many of the PASC's recommendations to address problems in public-sector ICT provision, particularly those in the areas of supplier benchmarking, legacy systems and skills gaps.

The report said that the government should gain independent external advice on benchmarking suppliers, replace legacy systems with long-term solutions and ensure that the government's actions on skills gaps will be "adequate to cope with behavioural and process change required across the whole of the government".

Maude said that a full response to the report will be released by the government in due course.

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