To ensure that we continue to improve our ICT delivery, we will move away from very large programmes to a greater number of smaller and more agile projects. We will create a common ICT infrastructure built on a set of common and, where necessary, mandated open standards.
We have identified the following challenges, many of which are interconnected:
- projects tend to be too big, leading to greater risk and complexity, and limiting the range of suppliers who can compete;
- Departments, agencies and public bodies too rarely reuse and adapt systems which are available ‘off the shelf’ or have already been commissioned by another part of government, leading to wasteful duplication:
- systems are too rarely interoperable;
- the infrastructure is insufficiently integrated, leading to inefficiency and separation;
- there is serious over-capacity, especially in data centres;
- procurement timescales are far too long and costly, squeezing out all but the biggest, usually multinational, suppliers; and
- too little attention has been given at senior level to the implementation of big ICT projects and programmes, either by senior officials or by ministers. Similarly, senior responsible owners (SROs) have rarely been allowed to stay in post long enough.