Labour's 'Sexy' IT Ball-and-Chain
Ian Watmore, permanent secretary to the UK cabinet office and Tony Blair's former IT chief, has been severely critical of over-ambitious, badly-managed IT projects under the Labour Government
Posted by Killian McAleese, 30th March 2011
The current UK government is in moves towards 'agile' project management methodologies which allow large IT projects to be broken up into smaller, more deliverable tasks. The policy is intended to save money while paving the way for small and medium businesses and open-source software in the government and civil service.
According to a recently published Cabinet Office strategy document, the government intends to implement this approach by aiming that no individual project will cost more than £100m.
Such approaches fit with the current government's cost-cutting strategy and Watmore, a long-time civil servant and advocate of further implementation of open-source in government, is in charge of a Whitehall efficiency drive which the policy may complement.
The BBC reported today that Watmore informed the UK public administration committee of “fiascos” under Labour which were not the result of poor technology but poor project management and policy.
According to Watmore, “there were people thinking they needed to have a piece of technology to make their policy sound sexy.” (Source: BBC News)
Bernard Jenkin, Conservative MP for North Essex and chair of the committee which Watmore was addressing, suggested that Watmore's employment history with large IT consultancy firm Accenture connected him to the big-project corporate culture which the government is now trying to leave behind.
Watmore, however, claimed to have already saved Whitehall £2bn and pointed out that 90% of civil servants still use Microsoft products.
Watmore claimed that the government policy was aimed at further use of open-source products, but said that his personal view was that more Apple products should also be rolled out to address the heavy reliance on Microsoft.
Find out about Open Plus use of open-source software in our consulting services on our Open-Source IT Solutions page.
New Report Points to an Agile Future in the UK4th March 2011
Document Freedom Day: UK releases Government ICT Strategy in .odtopensource.com, 30th March 2011
Join the Conversation
Let us know your view in the comment box below