Written evidence submitted by Rt Hon Francis
Maude MP, Minister for the Cabinet Office|
This Memorandum answers questions submitted by the
Public Administration Select Committee for the Cabinet Office
evidence session on 30 March 2011.
Question 1: A summary of recent Government
initiatives and policies aiming at reforming how it uses IT
The following represents the relevant commitments
made in the Structural Reform Plan included in the Cabinet Office
Business Plan. The detail is included in Annex A.
|1.3||Cut the costs of existing government contracts and improve long term supplier management
|1.4||Change the process for managing large projects
|1.9||Integrate ICT infrastructure across central government, and improve value for money in ICT
|1.10||Create new ICT procurement process
|1.11||Identify ICT projects and programmes to terminate and ensure that these are decommissioned
|1.12||Improve the rules around designing and running ICT projects and services
|1.13||Create a new government channel strategy to increase engagement, lower costs, and improve the delivery of online services
|2.3||Create a new "right to data" in conjunction with the Ministry of Justice
The following table lists the announcements that have been made.
|Date||Source of Statement
||Summary of statement|
|24 May 2010||HMG announcement
||As part of the Chancellor's drive to save £6.2 billion of public spend in 2010, Government announced the formation of the Efficiency and Reform Group (ERG), whose board would be chaired by Chief Secretary to the Treasury and Minister for the Cabinet Office. With immediate effect, their priorities to ICT were a freeze on new ICT spend above £1m, a review of all large ICT projects and renegotiations with major suppliers.
|30 July 2010||Cabinet Office announcement
||As part of the Government's commitment to transparency, the Programme for Government (PFG) would drive forward a number of initiatives. Treasury's COINS database of public spending has been released to the public; Government has drafted its Public Data Principles on data.gov.uk and announced the intention to publish details of all ICT contracts above £1 million in value. Government has also announced its commitment to Open Source and Open Standards, with Guidance for Procurers to be published in September 2010.
|18 October 2010||Minister for the Cabinet Office
||Stated his intentions to leave "No stone unturned" in the push for efficiency savings, with ERG leading the drive. In addition to ERG controls which stipulate that ICT projects over £1 million must be approved centrally, a review of over 300 ICT projects has taken place, with estimated savings of £1 billion coming from their re-scoping or closure.
|16 December 2010||Cabinet Office announcement
||Government expects to save £3 billion in one year as a result of the efficiency and reform measures implemented in 2010. Around £1 billion has been achieved so far, with £500 million coming from the moratoria on consulting, ICT and recruitment. Furthermore, details of all ICT projects over £1 million as of 31 July 2010 have been published by Cabinet Office, as have the Operational Efficiency Programme Benchmarking report for April 2009 to May 2010, which highlights the poor quality of previous government data.
|31 January 2011||Cabinet Office announcement
||Announced that from 1 February 2011, Joe Harley CBE will be Government Chief Information Officer (CIO). He takes the role alongside his duties as DWP CIO and Director General. Bill McCluggage, Deputy CIO will report directly to Joe. His new role will cover the ICT agenda for data centre, network, software and asset consolidation and cloud. He will also recruit a Director of ICT Futures, who will be responsible for directing agile methods and skunkworks.
|2 March 2011||Minister for the Cabinet Office and Chief Secretary to HMT
||Announced new governmental-wide spend controls on recruitment, consultancy, property, advertising and marketing and ICT. All new ICT spend above £5 million will now be subject to Cabinet Office approval and the newly formed Major Projects Authority will oversee all large projects.
|3 March 2011||Ian Watmore
||Government needs to look to make more use of "agile" methodology in its implementation of IT projects. He said it needs to, where appropriate, adopt agilewhich involves modular and iterative developments with heavy user involvement and feedbackalong with building a "platform" for a government-wide approach to IT.
Question 2: An assessment of why the Government has found
it so difficult to reform IT in the past
Looking at previous Governments policies toward IT, the documents
contain similar analysis of the problems and proposed solutions.
For example, the 1999 Modernising Government White Paper the Government
needed to bring about:
"a fundamental change in the way we use IT. We must modernise
the business of government itselfachieving joined up working
between different parts of government and providing new, efficient
and convenient ways for citizens and businesses to communicate
with government and to receive services."
This language doesn't seem too different from what the Government
is saying at the moment. This leads to the question "Why
has Government found it bring about change in the way it uses
Large organisations in both the Private and Public sector suffer
delay and failure in the delivery of big projects and programmes
with substantial ICT elements. Given the greater profile of the
public sector failures, and the general lack of information on
comparable failures within the private sector, issues with government
projects and programmes seem significantly more prevalent than
their private sector counterparts.
Nonetheless, there have been significant failings in government
projects and programmes.
The reasons why the Government has found it difficult to reform
IT in the past are:
tend to be too big, leading to greater risk, complexity and limiting
the range of suppliers who can compete;
agencies and public bodies too rarely reuse and adapt systems
available off the shelf or already commissioned by another part
of government, leading to wasteful duplication;
are too rarely interoperable;
infrastructure is insufficiently integrated, leading to inefficiency
is serious over-capacity, especially in data centres;
timescales are far too long and costly, squeezing out all but
the biggest, usually multinational, suppliers; and
has been too little attention given at senior levels to the implementation
of big ICT projects and programmes, either by senior officials
or by ministers. Similarly, Senior Responsible Owners (SROs) often
move on due to change in roles.
Question 3: How will the Government's current
approach address the problems it has faced in the past?
This follows on from the previous question. Given
the Government has faced these challenges before, and has not
made as much progress as it would have liked, how will the current
Government's approach avoid repeating old mistakes?
Government is determined not to repeat the mistakes
of the past. In order to do this Government recognises that ICT
is important for the delivery of efficient, cost-effective public
services that are responsive to the needs of citizens and businesses.
We want government ICT to be open. Open to the people and organisations
that use our services. And open to any provider regardless of
To address the challenges listed in question 2, we
have done, or will do, the following:
new central controls to ensure greater consistency and integration;
powers to remove excess capacity;
a level playing field for open source software;
streamline procurement and specify by outcomes rather than inputs;
a presumption against projects having a lifetime value of more
than £100 million;
compulsory open standards, starting with interoperability and
a comprehensive asset register;
a cross-public sector Applications Store;
SROs to stay in post until an appropriate break point in project/programme
boards to hold ministers and senior officials to account on a
regular basis for the progress of projects and programmes with
substantial ICT elements.
It is planned that these initiatives will be funded
from within existing spending plans. They are all about spending
money better, rather than spending more, and will be used as exemplars
of the Government's major projects methodology.
Question 4: What is the Government's current
policy towards; Open Source, G-cloud, and Agile Development?
This may have been covered under 1, but if it
hasn't it would be useful to have the most recent policy statements
on the use of these technologies. They are raised quite often
in the evidence as part of the "solution" to government
(a) Open Source
Government Open Source policy is a commitment to
ensuring a level playing field for open source and proprietary
software, as outlined in the Cabinet Office's Business Plan.
The current strategy on Open Source has three activities;
the user; so that Government is an intelligent customer and knows
how to articulate Open Source requirements;
the procurement process; and
with suppliers to ensure that they are offering appropriate Open
Progress to date
Statement"The days of the
mega IT contracts are over, we will need you to rethink the way
you approach projects, making them smaller, off the shelf and
open source where possible". Francis Maude MP, Minister for
the Cabinet Office, 2 December 2010.
for Procurers DocumentFollowing
the Minister's statement the Cabinet Office completed a
review of the existing procurement rules and is now working to
complete Guidance for Procurersa document aimed at educating
public sector procurement professionals on best practice for evaluating
open source software. This will be published by May 2011.
Model and Options PaperAs part
of the Guidance for Procurers, Cabinet Office is working on a
model which assesses the maturity of a number of Open Source solutions
and is compiling a catalogue of acceptable Open Source alternatives
to their proprietary counterparts.
ForumOn 21 of February 2011 Cabinet
Office hosted the first Open Source Supplier Forum, gathering
representatives from the top ICT suppliers to Government (including
IBM, CSC, Accenture, HP, Logica) to explain that Government is
actively seeking out, but not mandating, Open Source-based solutions.
These meetings will be held on a quarterly basis.
Source Implementation GroupOn 21
of March 2011 Cabinet Office will be hosting its first Open Source
Implementation Group, gathering departmental representatives to
discuss where there have been successes and challenges with deploying
Open Source across government. The outcomes will focus on building
profiles of suitable Open Source options for government, troubleshooting
and investigating opportunities for sharing capability on Open
PanelIn February 2011 Cabinet Office
announced the creation of an Open Source Advisory Panela
group of industry professionals who will provide ad hoc advice
and support to procurement and technical officials on Open Source.
The panel will also be available to offer technical advise around
open source solutions to System Integrators.
(b) Agile Development
Government is working to put the principles and structures
in place to enable agile ICT delivery. The emphasis is on interoperability
based on open standards, open data and increasingly mobile ICT
platforms. Improved procurement processes will reduce costs to
create a fairer and level playing field for ICT suppliers. In
addition, where Government needs to commission a new ICT service
or solution, it will look to apply lean and agile methodologies
to reduce waste and risk of project failure.
Government's approach to Agile Development is for:
Range of SuppliersA diverse range
of service providers will enable rapid deployment of technologies
to front line services. More agile and more open procurement rules
will make the market more accessible to SMEs. The modularisation
of larger ICT contracts will allow for multiple suppliers delivering
on larger pieces of work, which in turn gives a more varied input
into the project design, as per agile principles.
StandardsOpen standards will enable
interoperability across both government systems and data, allowing
for quicker and more agile interactions between various components.
by DefaultGovernment is committed
to making public services digital by default, delivered by Direct
Gov. The drive is towards online personalised services, which
are trusted and flexible. Section 1.13 ii) of the Cabinet Office
Business Plan states a commitment to "Mandate channel shift
in selected government services".
developmentTo be achieved via open
data and encourage businesses and citizens to innovate new digital
services and solutions. As per the Government's transparency agenda,
opening up analytics and information will help people to make
Progress to date
of SkunkworksLead by Mark O'Neill
(CIO of DCLG), the Skunkworks team has been created with the intention
of assessing and developing faster and cheaper ways of using ICT
the marketThe PPN 05/11 of February
2011 listed a package of measures to open up the market to SMEs
(however, this is not specific to ICT SMEs), including streamlining
procurement and engaging with suppliers. Measures taken so far
appointment of a Crown Commercial Representative (Stephen Allott)
to lead on strategic engagement with SMES; and
launch of the Contract Finders website.
Furthermore, the PPN states that:
will be required to adopt greater outcome-based specifications
as much as possible and not to over specify. For our most significant
projects in government the Major Projects Authority in the Cabinet
Office will systematically assess whether the specification has
been gold plated and whether it is sufficiently based on outcomes.
We will also seek to break requirements up into "micro lots"
where possible. (PPN Information Note 05/11 February 2011); and
of the "Lean" Review of the procurement process and
announcement of pathfinder projects which will use the Lean approach
to conduct their procurement much faster than current norms (PPN,
6dPackage of Measures).
details of ICT projects over £1 million were published last
year. By making this information available to the public, there
is greater opportunity for interested parties to contribute to
StandardsGovernment issued PPN
03/11 in January 2011"Use of Open Standards when specifying
ICT requirements" which stated that, "Government departments
should ensure that they include open standards in their ICT procurement
specifications unless there are clear business reasons why this
Cloud computing is the new technology approach that
moves organisations away from separately procuring their individual
dedicated infrastructure to one where they can consume ICT Infrastructure
and Services as a utility. The growth of this "Cloud"
approach allows organisations to be able to respond to rapid change
and growth whilst also reducing operating costs and the need for
significant upfront capital expenditure.
Public sector ICT will start to utilise the broad
range of services becoming available from the Cloud. Cloud services
that conform to Government Standards for security, service and
availability, will become "G-Cloud Certified" and will
be advertised on the Applications Store for Government. G-Cloud
Certification will represent, trusted, secure and resilient services
from shared common platforms allowing departments to gain significant
economies of scale and allow operation at the best cost efficiency.
The G-Cloud will be focussed upon applications and
services operating at IL3 or below, representing approximately
85% of all public sector applications. Applications operating
at security level of IL3 will be maintained within the boundary
of the Government Network (PSN), in a secure Private Cloud. Applications
operating at security levels of IL2 or below will be targeted
for G-Cloud Certified Public Cloud.
The outcome will be that wherever appropriate, all
public sector organisations embrace the "cloud" approach
to the delivery of ICT as the default, taking advantage of the
enormous scale of economies available through the public cloud,
where possible and consuming more sensitive applications from
a secure platform shared by the whole of government.
Progress to date
The G-Cloud strategy was developed during 2009-10
by a team comprised jointly of representatives of public sector
organisations and the ICT industry.
1 was focussed on the opportunities presented by Data Centre Consolidation
(DCC) and report that significant cost savings and efficiencies
could be gained by the consolidation of a significant proportion
of the Government Data Centre Estate.
2 focussed more broadly across DCC and the additional opportunities
represented by the Cloud approach to ICT. Phase 2 produced nine
major reports, now published setting out the Vision, and baseline
position across all areas impacted by the G-Cloud Programme.
Phase 2 Vision sets out how the public sector will realise the
benefits of the "cloud" approach to ICT through three
Government Cloud (G-Cloud) certification will provide a trusted,
secure and resilient shared environment through which public sector
bodies can resource ICT service at greater speed and lower cost,
both within the Government's Network and also externally in the
Application Store for Government (ASG) will be a marketplace to
review, compare and select online G-Cloud certified business applications.
Data Centre Strategy will significantly reduce the number of data
centres used by central Government to host ICT services bringing
substantial savings in cost and energy consumption.
Establishing the G-Cloud, ASG and implementing Data
Centre Consolidation will involve change in the way that ICT is
procured and supplied, which will in turn require new ways of
working in both ICT suppliers and public sector organisations.
Question 5: What steps is the Government taking
to increase the number of SMEs involved in delivering Government
I'm aware that the Government has dropped the
quota of 25% SMEs, possibly partial due to EU Procurement rules.
However, it would be useful to hear what steps the Government
will take to encourage SME to bid for Government contracts. Many
organisations and businesses that submitted written evidence to
the Committee complained about the current procurement system
making it difficult to SMEs to bid, so any comments you have on
this would be helpful.
Government has issued two Procurement Policy Notices
(PPN) about increasing the number of SMEs involved in government
November 2010: PPN 19/10"Package of announcements
to support Small Businesses".
2011: PPN 05/11: "Further measures to promote Small Business
These PPNs covered:
Contracts Finder websiteallowing all businesses to view
details of live contract opportunities, closed tender documentation,
contract awards and contract documents;
the procurement process, by:
departments not to over-specify by adopting greater use of outcome
based specifications (Major Projects Authority to assess larger
the Lean approach on pathfinder projects;
requiring Pre-Qualification Questionnaire (PPQ) data to be submitted
the requirement for the completion of a PQQ for contracts under
strategic relationships between SMEs and Government, by:
a Crown Commercial Representative to deal specifically with the
dialogue between the two groups. Stephen Allott has since taken
on this role;
of SME product surgeries;
programme to get more secondees from business into procurement
an extended Supplier Feedback Service.
Question 6: How does the Government integrate
IT into the policy development process?
This is possibly the most difficult question to
express, but the intention of this question is to follow up on
thoughts contained in the evidence about the stage in the policy
process at which IT is considered? Is it an add on at the end
or integrated from the start? Is the Government making any attempts
ensuring that IT considerations are brought in earlier?
Government recognises that its organisations have
faced the challenge of keeping track of the fast changing landscape
of policy and subsequent IT design and implementation.
The ownership of the government ICT policy rests
with The Cabinet Office and, since May 2010, the Efficiency and
Therefore there are a number of Efficiency and Reform
Group initiatives that contribute towards the objective of ensuring
that government integrate IT into the policy development process.
governance by the formation of PEX (Efficiency and Reform) Cabinet
Committee to provide increased Ministerial accountability and
scrutiny and to ensure technology considerations are factored
earlier in the process of formulating policy.
controls and the creation of Major Projects Athority (MPA) to
ensure that projects are both aware and aligned with policy.
Governments' capability to exploit the benefits of new technologies
by establishing new approachesensuring that informed decisions
are being made at an early stage. Government will systematically
scan the technology horizon to identify changes in technology
and assess its opportunities and risks.
appointment of a Director of ICT Futures to take responsibility
for improving the Government's capability to meet the challenge
of fast moving technology and to drive change in the way Government
adopts a more rapid and open ICT development approach.
CABINET OFFICESTRUCTURAL REFORM PLAN
1.3 CUT THE
(i) Identify list of contracts to be renegotiated
and develop market intelligence (including unit pricing, supplier
landscape and industry benchmarking).
(ii) Realise the savings during central renegotiation
of government contracts.
(iii) Build capability to support large departmental
supplier negotiations, particularly for outsourcings and ICT.
(iv) Introduce centrally co-ordinated supplier
1.4 CHANGE THE
(i) Review all government funded major projects
judged to be at risk, in order to maximise savings through stopping
or re-scoping projects.
(ii) Establish the Efficiency and Reform Group
(ERG) as the central authority for the Governments major projects.
(iii) Implement a new mandated integrated assurance
and reporting regime for all major projects, including a system
for working with all government departments.
(iv) Publish first annual report on government
funded major projects.
ICT INFRASTRUCTURE ACROSS
(i) Increase the Chief Information Officer's
power to integrate ICT across government.
(ii) Draft ICT infrastructure strategy, including
government cloud computing strategy.
(iii) Begin regular publication of performance
details of all ICT projects above £1 million.
(iv) Complete the first version of a cross-departmental
1.10 CREATE NEW
ICT PROCUREMENT PROCESS
(i) Introduce moratorium so that no new ICT contract
is signed without ERG approval.
(ii) Agree with HMT conditions under which a
project is released from moratorium.
(iii) Identify cross-department pipeline of upcoming
or ongoing tenders and negotiations through the moratorium and
(iv) Publish report outlining a new approach
to ICT procurement enabling greater use of small and medium sized
enterprises (SMEs), a much shorter timescale and lower costs to
(v) Begin publication of status report on use
of SMEs in procurement.
ICT PROJECTS AND
(i) Identify first tranche of projects and programmes
to terminate through the major project review and the review of
internal ICT projects.
(ii) Agree which of first tranche of projects
and programmes should be terminated or re-scoped and begin decommissioning.
(iii) Develop process for ongoing review of future
(iv) Begin publication of regular status report
on identified projects and programmes verifying decommissioning.
ICT PROJECTS AND
(i) Publish guidance on the presumption that
ICT projects should not exceed £100m in total value and the
aspiration to reduce the scale of large ICT projects.
(ii) Evaluate existing procurement rules designed
to ensure a level playing field for open source software and explore
options for strengthening current practice.
(iii) Establish draft government open standards
(including those relating to security) and crowd-source for feedback.
(iv) Establish IT skunk works to assess and develop
faster and cheaper ways of using ICT in government.
(v) Announce new open standards and procurement
rules for ICT, including right for skunk works to be involved
prior to launch of procurement.
1.13 CREATE A
(i) Carry out review of overall digital engagement
strategy, including future role of Directgov.
(ii) Mandate "channel shift" (move
online) in selected government services.
(iii) Review websites for decommissioning, working
with relevant departments.
(iv) Begin to implement new digital engagement
strategy, including channel shift and website decommissioning.
2.3 CREATE A
(i) Work with the Transparency Board to set requirements
for departments to publish data in an open and standardised format,
so that it can be used easily and with minimal cost by third parties.
(ii) Require central government departments and
arms length bodies to commit to implementing a "right to
data" in their information strategies, giving the public
access to datasets they request.
(iii) Amend Freedom of Information guidance to
extend "right to data" to public services.
(iv) Introduce legislative amendments to Freedom
of Information Act to strengthen "right to data".
10 Section ii) of action 1.12 of the Cabinet Office
Business Plan 2011-15, published in November 2010 stated that
Cabinet Office would "Evaluate existing procurement rules
designed to ensure a level playing field for open source software
and explore options for strengthening current practice" (completed
in December 2010). Back