Better late than never…

The National Audit Office has recently (17 February 2011) published a “Cross-government and public administration Information and Communications Technology in government. Landscape Review“, which it claims “looks at how government uses Information and Communications Technology (ICT) to deliver public services. The review, the purpose of which is to inform the debate about government’s new use of ICT, gives an overview of existing uses, as well as initiatives and changes underway.”

The introduction to the report states that it will “set out what has been achieved in government ICT during the last decade along with those issues that remain to be tackled”. I’ve always said e-government needed a post implementation review and so thought this might finally be it!

Ideally, however,it should have been published well before work commenced on the new government IT strategy which will probably appear in a few weeks, so I’m not sure how any gaps it shows up can be filled if the two reports aren’t better synchronised?

Unfortunately, what is says on the tin is not quite what one find’s when you open it! It appears to be some kind of mind-dump of everything anyone knew had gone wrong with central (for that is what it focuses on, along with health) government IT over the past decade, plus some of the structural and policy changes made most recently by the new regime. Quite a bit is made of ‘professionalism’, which is no bad thing, but it does fail to consider the need to consult users about service delivery, whilst it mentions that a realisation of it entered the government mindset in 2004!

Was someone trying to spend the last of the publications budget before year-end? It’s 48 pages  that could probably have been squeezed onto four A4 sides and delivered as an executive summary. It’s the NAO’s equivalent of Newman’s ‘Apologia’, they’ve not pulled up government IT for the decade or more, so here’s how we’ll do it in future…


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