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Whitehall CIO supports gov't IT spending of £13.7 billion

Whitehall CIO supports gov't IT spending of £13.7 billion

John Suffolk praises year's claims progress in Transformational Government

The government's chief information officer has claimed progress in the three key areas of change set out in the 2005 Transformational Government strategy.

John Suffolk said there was "progress across the three core strands of putting the citizen at the heart of what we do; shared services; and professionalising IT-enabled business change", in a year when the government spent £13.7 billion on IT.

He added that there was more change ahead, with the Greening Government strategy, "a significant rewrite and expansion of our approach to open source, open standards and re-use", and more extensive use of social networking.

The recession meant there would be "even more focus on driving value out of the [IT] investments we make", he said.

Suffolk's comments come in the foreword to the Cabinet Office's third annual Transformational Government report, which is the government's assessment of its own expenditure. As expected, the report heaped praise on government IT-led changes, even on the highly troubled £12.7 billion National Programme for IT.

Services across government were more centred on the public, the report said. It highlighted initiatives including the "Tell Us Once" programme, led by the Department for Work and Pensions, which aims to allow people to tell the government once about births and deaths, and even address changes, and for a range of department's records to be updated.

Most public sector workers are now served by shared human resources and finance systems, it said, with work continuing to join other front and back office services. The DWP's shared services scheme had delivered £50 million in savings by April last year, and the Front Office Shared Services Programme is focusing on opportunities for local councils to share front line services.

The report also underlined the importance of the use of systems with "open, common standards" in the public sector.

In the coming years, there will be more focus on public influence on services, improving service professionalism and providing more central leadership on services.


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