Revealed: The biggest IT spenders in Westminster

Government departments' IT budgets from £5m to £1.5bn
Written by Nick Heath, Contributor

Government departments' IT budgets from £5m to £1.5bn

The government has revealed which departments are the biggest spenders on IT.

Topping the list is the Department of Health (DoH) which, thanks to an ongoing project to revamp NHS IT set to cost £12.7bn, has an IT budget of £1.485bn during the 2009/10 financial year.

Next highest is the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), which has £1.19bn to spend on IT in 09/10.

The department with the third largest budget for the year is the HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), with £840m.

The DoH, the DWP and HMRC also have the highest earning CIOs in central government, with DoH CIO Christine Connelly, DWP CIO Joe Harley and HMRC CIO Phil Pavitt on senior civil service pay band three, which means they each earn between £99,960 and £205,000 each year.

Other government departments notch up comparatively modest IT budgets: the Ministry of Justice £242m; the Foreign and Commonwealth Office £160m; the Ministry of Defence £86.5m; the Department for Children, Schools and Families £44m; the Department of Communities and Local Government £30.4m; the Department for International Development £25m; the Department for Transport £13.5m; the Department for Culture, Media and Sport £5.2m; and the Home Office £5.1m.

The full set of figures for government IT spending can be seen below.

westminster IT budgets

The IT budgets for central government departments for 2009/10
(Image credit: Nick Heath/silicon.com)

The figures were revealed in written answers to parliament in response to questions by shadow innovation minister Adam Afriyie.

Francis Maude, shadow minister for the Cabinet Office, described Labour's IT procurement process as having been "marked by a catalogue of failures, late deliveries and cost overruns".

Repeating Conservative calls for a moratorium on all new IT projects until after this year's General Election, Maude added in a statement: "It would be outrageously irresponsible in the dying months of this failed government, at this time of deep financial crisis, to commit ever more public money to an IT programme already marked by failure and waste. This waste needs to stop now."

The Conservatives say that, if elected, they will not commission any IT projects worth more than £100m, putting an end to multibillion-pound schemes like the £12.7bn National Programme for IT or £5.4bn ID cards scheme. They say they would achieve this by replacing large single computer systems with many smaller computer systems, capable of working together as a larger whole.

However the days of high spending IT departments inside Westminster appear to be numbered under the current administration: a recent leaked report from the Cabinet Office revealed plans to shave billions off government's annual IT spend by using more shared IT services, shutting datacentres and using cloud computing.

Editorial standards