Third of government data systems not up to scratch

The National Audit Office has said 35 percent of government data systems need strengthening to be resilient enough for purpose

A third of public-sector data systems are not sufficiently robust for the demands they face.

A report by the National Audit Office (NAO) into the quality of government data systems said that, although the systems were broadly appropriate, 35 percent need strengthening to be resilient enough for purpose.

The NAO looked at 237 data systems in 17 government departments to measure progress against public service agreements for improvements made between 2005 and 2008.

A further eight percent of systems were deemed "not fit for purpose", while it was judged too early to tell with another six percent. One percent of the systems the government had committed to had not even been built.

The remaining 50 percent of data systems required no further work, according to the NAO.

The report found government departments have generally improved the quality of their data systems.

According to the NAO, although improvements have been made to existing systems, there seemed to be a lack of learning from past mistakes when developing new data systems.

Head of the NAO, Sir John Bourn, said good-quality data is essential for the effective operation of targets for public-sector accountability.

Bourn added that departments must learn from improvements made on existing systems and transfer these to new projects for people to have confidence in their performance.

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