Whitehall mandarins have wasted more than £100m on failed or cancelled IT projects in the last 12 months.
That’s according to the Taxpayers’ Alliance, which has collated losses across all departments for 2013 – 2014.
The Alliance uncovered £107m lost as projects were scrapped, gains weren’t realized or unnecessary costs were incurred thanks to badly specced-out contracts.
The Ministry of Justice was the biggest offender, losing £56m while rolling out a single, unified in-house ERP system – the Shared Services Organisation contract.
The all-singing-all-dancing system was to centralise HR, finance, procurement and payroll but was scrapped in favour of the Next Generation Shared Services strategy in June 2014. By then, the Ministry had sunk £56m into the enterprise deal.
The Department for Work and Pensions was the second biggest loser: £27m on its written-off web-based benefits system My Benefits Online (MyBOL).
The system hit delays and delivery problems before being cancelled as savings were realized elsewhere and the Universal Credit online access plan was rolled out.
Another loser was the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. The FLITE program to consolidate 5,200 BIS and Department of Energy and Climate Change users at two sites lost the tax payer £1.235m.
IT contracts cost Whitehall a total of £7.630m.
A mistake by the Department of Health in its electronic patient records project with Computer Sciences Corp (CSC) in the North Midlands and East of England resulted in a £4.707m loss. Somebody forgot to negotiate a clause for a reduction in charges should sites be decommissioned early. The result was the Department was forced to continue paying for unwanted facilities, resulting in a constructive loss of £4.707m.
The Department of Transport lost £2.223m after its Highways Agency was forced to shell out compensation to one IT contractor for early termination of a project.
The DVLA, meanwhile, had to make a £700,000 special payment to IBM in December 2013 to make “significant improvements” to an existing contract.
Bugs and poorly specced-out software also cost Blighty's taxpayers £4.209m.
The MoJ was the biggest offender, losing £1.727m on a software rollout cancelled “following a reappraisal of the economic benefits of the business case.”
Next came the Ministry of Defence, losing £1.515m when a “software integration tool” was cancelled after problems were uncovered during the testing phase that couldn’t be solved.
The DWP came a sad third in the software money-loss stakes, having lost £967,000 after cancelling IT management software. ®