The National Audit Office (NAO) has told the government to go back to basics on IT projects, in the wake of the Siemens-run passport computerisation disaster which will cost the public £12.6 million (GBP).
The NAO report, rushed out at unusual speed and released yesterday, blames inadequacies in the system and a failure to manage their consequences.
The report pinpoints problems in the data entry process and says the scanning-in of hand-written forms caused data errors - a problem compounded by poor print quality.
Five weeks after the system was deployed in Liverpool, the Passport Agency was handling 6200 passports a week, against a target figure of 30,000. Despite this, it plunged on with a rollout at its Newport office.
The agency has so far received just £69,000 (GBP) compensation from Siemens.
Astonishingly, it has since cost only £200,000 (GBP) to make the Passport Agency's old system Year 2000 compliant. Non-compliance was one of the reasons given for rushing ahead with the new system.
The auditors said the government should:
* prepare contingency plans
* carry out risk analysis
* make plans for adequate testing
* hold pilots
* pay attention to interaction with users
* ensure compensation can be claimed
vnunet.com last week revealed a catalogue of disasters in the government's private finance initiative related to new IT systems. Check out our report at the hotlink below.
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