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Treasury to scrutinise gov't IT spending

The chief secretary to the Treasury will look at how the state delivers about a dozen major projects, such as NHS purchasing programmes and road building
Written by Nick Heath, Contributor

Government spending on IT is to come under scrutiny as part of a wider Treasury review of national projects.

Chief secretary to the Treasury, Yvette Cooper, will examine how the state delivers about a dozen major projects in areas ranging from NHS purchasing programmes to road building.

The Treasury said IT systems underpinning these projects will be examined as part of the drive to uncover savings in service delivery but refused to give specific details of the projects under the microscope.

Some IT systems could be overhauled as a result of the review but it is unlikely they will be subject to any major changes, said a Treasury spokesman.

According to the spokesman: "The review will look at about a dozen major government projects. The IT element might be considered as part of the review of these projects as it is hard to do any sort of major project without there being a fairly large IT component to it."

The spokesman said the review has not been triggered by the government's lamentable track record on delivering IT systems on budget and on time, such as the £70m overspend for the national fire control centre system or the National Offender Management Information Systems, whose budget is projected to leap from £234m to £512m.

Hundreds of thousands of people were given an extra 24 hours to file their tax returns online after HM Revenue & Customs' computer filing system crashed hours before the final deadline on Thursday.

The string of failed government IT projects and cost overruns is estimated to have cost nearly £2bn since 2000, according to a recent survey.

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