Skip to main content

Cameron's coalition stumbles over "shambolic" IT policy

Yet another rumbling schism in the coalition has opened after Lib Dem minister Vince Cable branded the Tories' flagship IT policy "shambolic."

David Cameron has allegedly received complaints from Vince Cable and Ed Davey citing slow emails and other IT problems in their departments as a cause for concern.

According to the Financial Times, Davey and Cable blame Tory Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude's IT procurement policy for the problems. However the Cabinet Office itself has countered that the ministers' own departments are at fault.

Related: GDS approves Whitehall e-recruitment system

Cable and Davey say that the network problems started in their departments back in May when they started migrating to new systems. Over a month later, they are complaining that the issues have nearly brought their two departments to a standstill.

The Business secretary and Energy and Climate Change Secretary's departments share the same IT system. The network was originally provided by Japanese computer behemoth Fujitsu under a 15-year PFI deal worth £19 million a year.

However, under the new Whitehall procurement procedures they are now connected via several different suppliers on shorter contracts.

Francis Maude has been keen to end the dominance of IT giants in Whitehall, giving greater responsibilities to SMEs. Cable, however, is unimpressed with the scheme and has called for a halt to the initiative.

As one of the Conservative Party's flagship policies to boost entrepreneurship, the end of the initiative could be a huge blow to Cameron's government.