ICT plan aims to save Scottish government £1 billion

22 June 2011

22 June 2011 | Angeline Albert  

Proposals to save the Scottish government up to £1 billion through better management of information and communication technology (ICT) have been published.

A review of the country's public sector ICTinfrastructure, carried out by John McClelland, was published yesterday. It recommended an overarching national ICT strategy with all public sector organisations becoming involved in shared procurement and use of ICT.

The report said the sector invested at least £1.4 billion on ICT in 2009 (60 per cent of which was external spending with industry). It concluded that the current fragmented and inadequate mode of engaging with suppliers and tendering means cumulative savings over a five-year period beginning in 2012/13 could potentially be up to £1 billion. Sharing ICT staff resources and capabilities would mean that by the fourth year of implementation (2015/16) savings would be at least £230 million per year.

“Considerable effort has been expended by the various procurement departments across the public sector to make inroads in terms of aggregating spend and offering professional procurement involvement ICT expenditure. However, all of these organisations find it difficult to engage comprehensively in the area of ICT spend primarily due to the fragmentation of user activity and the absence of complete governance models,” it said.

The report recommended a five-year ICT strategy should be developed for each separate part of the public sector, which would move from local self-sufficiency to sharing within each sector, that is local authorities, health service, universities and colleges, wider Scottish government, police and fire. McClelland said: “Shared deployment of ICT will reduce cost and deliver savings.”

Finance secretary John Swinney said: “The review states that it should be standard to request all public services online and ICT technologies should support more integration across different sectors. Along with the Public Procurement Reform Board, I will consider in detail the review's findings, but it is clear there must be more effective engagement with the ICT industry and a much clearer focus on breaking down organisational barriers to deliver better public services that focus on users while getting the best value for money.”

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