The UK government has announced a key part of its campaign to improve the woeful record of public service IT contracts.
A forum has been established by the Office of Government Commerce (OGC) and the Computing Services and Software Association (CSSA) to discuss the findings of the government's report into IT projects, called Successful IT - Modernising Government in Action. The report made 30 recommendations to improve the performance of major IT projects, including better supplier management.
The forum will also discuss the findings of the CSSA's analysis of government IT projects, called Getting IT Right for Government.
The group comprises an equal number of government officials and IT industry suppliers, and aims to have the public and private sector agree on best practices associated with the acquisition and implementation of government IT projects.
Peter Gershon, OGC chief executive and the forum's chairman, said: "It is crucial that we raise awareness across the whole sector in relation to both the acquisition and implementation of government IT projects. There are important lessons to be learnt across the whole area of government and the IT industry, and we must identify the right standards and best practice needed to implement government projects.
"I am confident that this forum will provide a focus for identifying the right government and IT industry processes."
That focus is much needed. The government's track record is dismal. Many projects have had problems, resulting in tenders frequently being delivered late, over budget and, on occasion, scrapped at enormous cost to taxpayers. Suppliers have also lost hundreds of millions of pounds through overbidding and cancellations.
The government has not yet announced any other parts of its strategy to tackle IT project failures.
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