Report concludes disparate data management damages UK government

Senior civil servants have been interviewed as part of a report looking at the state of the UK government’s IT strategy and the conclusion reached by experts is that improvements to data management and co-ordination from within Whitehall are necessary.

The report has been carried out by The Institute for Government Study and since its investigation it has called for the unification of IT policy and organisation within the central authority of our nation.

What is most telling is that there have already been committees formed to discuss and make changes to the current disparate systems and several plans have been formulated, but none have been implemented as those looking to do so lack the necessary power to overrule governmental departments opposing the changes.

The Chief Information Officer Council has been attempting to push through changes to the government’s central IT schemes in order to create a more cohesive platform, but a spokesperson for the council said that it could not influence departments that were averse to the plans, many of which already had their own agendas and priorities to follow.

At present, all of the government’s IT is handled independently by each individual department and with a dispersal of resources and power it is very difficult to implement widespread changes. The CIO Council thus has to persuade power brokers individually rather than being able to contact a single group that can implement mandatory changes with little opposition.

The suggested solution is the creation of a central organisation that could help to regulate and standardise the currently diffuse array of networking technology and IT systems upon which departments currently rely. Incompatible networks can cause a serious breakdown in communication between governmental departments and this is clearly an issue that needs to be addressed sooner rather than later.

16 billion was spent on public sector IT between 2007 and 2008, which represents nearly 5 per cent of the total budget. It is hoped that a 20 per cent reduction can be made in this bill in the future as the government looks to cut costs whilst raising efficiency.

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