Government keeps mum over IT spending

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Treasury financial secretary Ruth Kelly told MPs that the confidentiality of Gateway, run by procurement efficiency agency the Office of Government Commerce, was key to its success.

‘If we took confidentiality away from the discussions we would not have such open and honest negotiations,’ she said.

‘Lessons would not be learned to the same extent, and the value added by the process could be significantly diminished.’

Kelly added she would consider plans for a statutory framework to enforce the Gateway process.

Sources indicated last year that the Inland Revenue disregarded the Gateway quality assurance process when developing its disastrous tax credits IT system.

Although the process is meant to be mandatory, the Revenue is thought to have skipped the first three stages, which cover essentials such as business justification and procurement strategy. The six-stage process is designed to monitor projects at key stages to guard against failure.

Ian Glenday, Gateway programme executive director at the OGC, said earlier this year that legislation was not needed.

‘We want to see the impact of what we have already done before getting sidelined into something quite different,’ he said.

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