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Government claims over £100m in ICT savings in past year

09 Aug 2012
The Houses of Parliament in London

The government has claimed that a "ruthless approach" to spending on IT projects has helped save £104m of taxpayers' money over the past 12 months.

The government said a clampdown on unnecessary spend on consultants and the need for senior civil servant sign off on higher value contract had contributed to these savings, as well as the use of money-saving services like the G-Cloud store.

The minister for the Cabinet Office, Francis Maude, claimed the extent of the savings was proof its tough stance on spending in areas such as ICT was necessary.

"In 2010 we set up an Efficiency and Reform Group in the Cabinet Office to beef up government's operational centre and to ensure that Whitehall operated in a more business-like fashion," he said.

"Because our controls on spending are working well and saving unprecedented amounts of money, I'm determined they will be a permanent feature of good governance."

The £104m figure will include part of claimed savings of £140m made since the coalition government took office in May 2010, thanks to a stricter approach to IT spending, as well as the release of more public data sets, also led by the Cabinet Office.

The figures were released as part of government efforts to publicise an overall reduction in spend of a whopping £5.5bn over the last 12 months, on top of savings of £3.75bn the year before.

Government ICT analyst Joe Dignan from Ovum told V3 that while savings of topping £100m look good, it amounts to a mere drop in the ocean of the government's spend on IT of around £26bn.

"It's good it's going in the right direction but saving £104m is really neither here nor there," he said.

"There's a lot more government could be doing to save money, particularly around the use of mobile applications for tablets and smartphones that would let citizens interact with government on the move, that is not being embraced at present."

Dignan added that local government did appear to be more advanced in the use of social tools than central government, which was promising, and noted that the G-Cloud service was also a step in the right direction.

"The G-Cloud is working, albeit slower than people would like, but that's in part because things are quiet over the summer, but G-Cloud 2 looks better than the first version and vendors appear to be embracing it so there's potential there for more savings," he said.

Dignan added that the lack of a mandatory reporting element in the service, though, means that it will be hard for the government to know exactly how many people are using the service to make purchases and what savings it is delivering.

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Dan Worth
About

Dan Worth is the news editor for V3 having first joined the site as a reporter in November 2009. He specialises in a raft of areas including fixed and mobile telecoms, data protection, social media and government IT. Before joining V3 Dan covered communications technology, data handling and resilience in the emergency services sector on the BAPCO Journal

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