One thing that it might mean is an opportunity for government departments to change the way they deal with their IT suppliers. Recently (ie during the Labour administration we had since 1997 until 2010), it hasn't gone well.
- Accenture build a system for the RPA: not fit for purpose, £46.5 million overspend
- BT, Fujitsu and others build NPfIT for the NHS: not fit for purpose, £10.4 billion (with a “b”) overspend
- Fujitsu build an information system for magistrates courts: £342 million overspend
- Cap Gemini build PRISM for the FCO: not fit for purpose, £34.5 million overspend
And so on. It has been estimated that the ten worst IT project failures under Labour cost the country around £26 billion. That's half the annual budget for schools.
So, a new government setting out to tame a spectacular deficit might want to bring these projects under control. Unfortunately, they get their advice from places such as Fujitsu, the very firms who do so well form these failed projects. Says Fujitsu's marketing director Simon Carter of discussions held with the Conservatives when they were still the shadow cabinet:
[the Conservatives] began to take on some of our suggestions, as they came to better understand government IT. For example, their proposal to cut IT contracts into smaller and shorter chunks was dropped as they realised they would have to act as system integrator to each of these smaller projects.What is the taxpayer to do in the face of this sort of thing? Particularly the well–informed taxpayer who knows full well that in no way whatsoever is this argument from Mr Carter valid.
At this year's Spa conference there was a Birds of a Feather session about this issue. Some of the signatories of this petition—a petition only 62 signatures away, as I write, from the 500 needed for it to have anyone inside 10 Downing Street pay any attention to it. If you are a UK resident and would rather that the new government were not wasting money on entirely avoidable IT project failures I urge you to sign the petition and to urge others to.