Brown won't tamper with government IT

New prime minister will steer clear of change in the country's biggest public-sector IT projects, including the NHS's National Programme for IT, according to analysts

Gordon Brown will not substantially alter current government IT projects, analyst firm Ovum said on Thursday, the first full day of office for the new prime minister.

"We don't see a huge change in direction," said Ovum's senior analyst John O'Brien. "As chancellor, Brown pretty much helped to direct all investments in the last 10 years anyway — they had his stamp of approval."

Instead, Ovum expects a greater drive towards efficiency. "The nuances will shift," said O'Brien. "The public sector will have to deliver services in a more effective way."

As part of the Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR), which is expected to identify future investments and reforms in government spending, central government will have to deliver five percent year-on-year efficiency gains.

This will encourage greater information sharing between government departments, according to Ovum. "Closer collaboration and a shared agenda will take up costs by making systems more effective," said O'Brien. "Shared help-desk services, greater automation and remote working will take up costs. Using thin clients is nothing new in the IT world, but it will be for government."

Ovum said it expected Brown to implement no change in the NHS's National Programme for IT, because it is starting to demonstrate some success. However, projects such as the National Identity Register, that will support the ID cards scheme, may be delayed.

"For the ID cards scheme, procurement will continue as is. However, they're modifying the nuts and bolts about information sharing and access to prevent fraud — this may require more thought," said O'Brien.