Accountability is essential to avoid IT failures, says Holyrood Committee

Clear lines of accountability are ‘absolutely essential’ to avoid major IT failures in the future, a Holyrood Committee has warned.

In a letter to the Scottish Government, the Public Audit and Post-Legislative Scrutiny Committee said there was some confusion over who is ultimately responsible for the delivery of public sector IT projects.

The letter from the Holyrood Committee follows a string of recent IT setbacks, including NHS 24, Police Scotland’s i6 programme and the CAP Futures programme.

In the past five years, the Scottish public sector has spent around £4bn on IT, with more than £856m spent on procuring IT in 2015/16 alone.

Public Audit and Post-Legislative Scrutiny Committee Acting Convener, Jackie Baillie MSP, said: “The recent string of IT failures clearly demonstrates that there is a significant problem for the Scottish Government and other public bodies to address.

“With this in mind, the Scottish Government must be clear about who is ultimately accountable for the delivery of IT projects.

“It is essential that the Scottish Government’s next digital initiatives are successful, as the loss to the public purse and loss of public confidence has been substantial. That’s why our Committee has written to the Scottish Government to outline our concerns and request updates on major IT projects in the future.”

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