In March 2011, after several months of thought and discussion, the UK Government’s Cabinet Office published the new Government ICT strategy. The strategy sets out a vision of flexible, cheap, self-service IT through government cloud computing and an iTunes or Amazon style applications store.
Although the tone and tactics reflect the current administration's policies and the state of the national finances the new strategy, by and large, remains the same as the previous strategy, reviewed by PA Consulting Group a year ago. The strategy focuses on "Government" rather than the whole "Public Sector" and provides more on standards and scrutiny than delivery and accountability.
Most public sector ICT professionals will not view the new strategy as a significant change. It is more likely that it will be public sector business executives of their key programmes who will feel the impact. Directors should be prepared for challenges on governance, procurement and agility.
governance - the additional layer of governance introduced through the ICT moratorium is being extended
procurement - the cabinet office is seeking to pool the UK Government's buying power and at the same time massively widen the ICT supply base and current procurement and ICT teams may struggle to cope
agility - the cabinet office plans to promote agile technologies common in the private sector but this has huge implications for the management of business staff involved in ICT projects and how projects are controlled.
Delivering an effective Government ICT strategy
Richard Barton, one of PA's experts in IT enabled business change advises "There are two key areas for public sector business executives to focus on. Fortunately these are good practice in any event". Richard suggests that Directors:
invest team and management effort in mapping out benefits and their dependence on ICT so that the business can make well-informed decisions and not rely on generic guidance from the centre
involve your most capable risk managers so that you can mitigate the operational impact from any forced changes to the scope, approach or timescales of your ICT projects.
PA's government experience
Our work spans the UK, Ireland, the Nordic countries, the Middle East and the United States, and covers all areas of government and public services including home affairs and justice, local government, education, health and welfare. We not only understand the challenges facing our clients, we also think more broadly about the sector and regularly contribute to the debate via our own Public Services e-journal.
If you would like to discuss how you can protect your programme from the implications of the new government ICT strategy, contact us now.