1. Information Technology (IT)
now impacts on almost every part of society. Government spent
an estimated £16 billion on IT in 2009.
IT is the means by which the government interacts with citizens;
the majority of its services are processed using IT enabled business
systems; departments and public bodies rely on electronic systems
to manage corporate functions; and many public sector workers
use IT infrastructure in the course of their working day. Yet
despite the breadth and depth of IT's use in government, the public
sector seems to make less effective use of IT than the private
2. The Government is aware of these perceived failings.
It has already conducted a series of contract renegotiations with
its largest IT suppliers and the Cabinet Office's first business
plan contained five high level actions that mentioned IT.
More recently, its ICT Strategy set out its aim to use IT to deliver
better public services while reducing costs.
The Government is not alone in taking a renewed interest in IT.
The NAO published its landscape review of Government ICT in February,
swiftly followed by the Institute for Government's Report "System
3. This inquiry examined how government uses IT and
what the barriers are to further improvement. Over the course
of this inquiry we received 69 written submissions from a range
of organisations and individuals. We held five evidence sessions
with academics, small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), trade
bodies, systems integrators (SIs), representatives of local government,
officials from the Department of Work and Pensions, Her Majesty's
Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and the Cabinet Office and the Rt Hon
Francis Maude MP, Minister for the Cabinet Office (the Minister).
We also visited Facebook and Vocalink.
Finally, we held a private meeting with SMEs, hosted by the Institute
for Government, in order for us to hear from SMEs who were concerned
that being publicly critical could lead to them losing business.
 We would like
to thank all those who contributed to our inquiry; especially
Jerry Fishenden, an IT consultant and researcher who acted as
our specialist adviser, whose support over the course of this
inquiry has been invaluable.
1 Over the course of this inquiry the terms IT (Information
Technology) and ICT (Information and Communication Technology)
have been used inter-changeably. We have treated both words the
same way in this Report and will use the term IT except in cases
where witnesses or documents refer specifically to ICT. Back
HMT, Operational Efficiency Programme: back office operations
and IT, May 2009. Back
Cabinet Office, Business Plan 2011-2015, Actions1.8 - 1.12 Back
Cabinet Office, Government ICT Strategy, March 2011, para
National Audit Office, Information and Communication Technology
in Government: Landscape review, HC 757, 17 February 2011 Back
Institute for Government, System Error: Fixing the Flaws in
Government IT, March 2011 Back
The company whose IT systems run payment transfers for the financial
A closed, Chatham House rule session with SMEs was held during
May 2011, hosted by the Institute for Government, in order for
us to hear evidence that SMEs felt unable to reveal on the public
Jerry Fishenden was appointed as a Specialist Adviser to the Committee
for this inquiry on 23 November 2010. Back