Institute of Directors: Scrap government IT projects and save billions

The government should scrap three of its largest IT projects and save billions of pounds a year, according to the Institute of Directors and the Taxpayers Alliance.

The organisations, which represent business leaders and taxpayers respectively, said the private sector was cutting costs in a range of areas and urged the government to take similar actions.

Cutting down on IT projects, alongside other areas of government expenditure including departmental budgets and certain welfare, would save £50 billion, they said.

The key was reducing “unproductive items of government expenditure that don’t work, or are not essential”, they said.

Bringing to a halt the troubled NHS National Programme for IT would save £1.18 billion per year, the ‘How to save £50 billion’ report stated. Even though it expected cancellation charges from suppliers, it said it did not expect these to exceed a third of annual value of the contracts.

The savings were calculated using cost projections from the Committee of Public Accounts, which said £11 billion would be spent over the next seven years, or £1.6 billion per year. Cancellation fees, combined with spending on local alternative systems, would mean £1.18 billion could be saved annually in total.

The report launched a scathing attack on the NHS IT programme, saying it was “never wanted” by doctors, behind schedule, raised serious privacy concerns, and was “far too expensive”.

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