The National Audit Office has painted a pretty bleak picture of the future of the government's IT plans, suggesting many of the biggest and costliest projects are doomed to fall into the usual moneypit quagmire these plans tend to end up in.
The NAO has put together a wide reaching summary of several of the largest IT and infrastructure spends currently underway in the UK, with its progress report claiming that the overall picture is "mixed" and that there are plenty of "high risks to delivery" within the various systems in place.
The numbers are really quite hard to fathom. The NAO says the 149 projects covered by the Government Major Project Portfolio amount to a total spend of a staggering £511bn over the course of their various lifetimes, with some £25bn spent in the next year alone, and 40 of the projects being IT upgrades.
The NAO warns that past failures have not been learned from, saying that: "Key recurring issues included an absence of portfolio management at both departmental and government level; lack of clear, consistent data with which to measure performance; poor early planning; lack of capacity and capability to undertake a growing number of projects; and a lack of clear accountability for leadership of a project."
37 governmental projects due to be delivered over the next five years are rated red or amber-red, warnings that "successful delivery was in doubt or unachievable" in the time planned and for the cost advertised. [NAO via The Register]