IT Initiatives To Aid Government Savings

To a coalition government charged with slashing a budget deficit of £160 billion, the thought of spending money on introducing a new public sector IT initiative may seem low on a list of priorities.

All too often ministers have hurled wedges of money at expensive, overcomplicated IT systems that have arrived late, over budget and out of date - a formula that invariably leads to failure.

This failure is then exacerbated when industry experts and representatives from the companies hired to provide the services announce to the press that the project was never destined to succeed.

Coupled with the acute political embarrassment suffered at the hands of the media whipping an eager public into a frenzy over yet more tax payers’ money wasted, it is unsurprising that ministers have become disillusioned with grand IT schemes.

Instead, it can be argued that it would be easier to slash IT budgets to prevent new initiatives and chalk up the short term savings as part of overall cuts.

But only through economic growth can the government gain the revenue needed to reduce the deficit significantly, and only through spending on projects to spark growth can this be achieved.

IT is key to this growth. G-Cloud plans support giving government departments and local authorities access to the latest technology through an app store and standardising public sector IT systems to help spur growth through increased efficiency, innovation and the reduction of waste through the duplication of services.

By restructuring and standardising, less money need be spent on operational costs, potentially reducing operational expenditure from 85 per cent of a department’s IT budget to 60 per cent - a bigger saving than could be made by cutting innovation.

In the G-Cloud plans there exists the potential to achieve this. It is now up to the government to make sure G-Cloud can achieve its potential, and not become another amongst many failed government IT initiatives.