Government IT deals to be published in July

Britain's new coalition government is to publish the details of all new IT contracts it signs from July 2010, in a bid to deliver what prime minister David Cameron calls "greater transparency".

The publication of details on central government IT contracts is being fast-tracked, and is set to begin five months before other government deals are due to be made public.

From November, new spending over £25,000 will have to be reported by all departments - followed by the disclosure of all spending by January next year.

The move represents an increasing level of scrutiny on big IT projects on the part of the new administration.

In a letter to all government departments, Cameron said: "Greater transparency across Government is at the heart of our shared commitment to enable the public to hold politicians and public bodies to account; to reduce the deficit and deliver better value for money in public spending; and to realise significant economic benefits by enabling businesses and non-profit organisations to build innovative applications and websites using public data."

This Friday will also see the Treasury open up its COINS – the 'Combined Online Information System' – to public scrutiny. COINS provides a complete database of Whitehall spending, and will begin by publicising details of all government transactions during the 2009-2010 financial year.

We'll be taking a closer look at government IT spending when details emerge.

Critics have suggested that the data will give the incumbents of Whitehall cause to criticise the previous Labour government, justifying the swingeing cuts to public services many expect when chancellor George Osborne announces his first budget on June 22nd.

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