Government Plans To Save £1.4bn With Online Services

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Half government departments will be on public clouds in Francis Maude’s plan to boost services and cut costs

Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude has promised £1.4 billion in savings on Government IT, while delivering better public services delivered online, through an ambitious IT plan which includes cloud and open source, released today.

The Strategic Implementation Plan (SIP), describes itself as an “ambitious roadmap by which government ICT will become more efficient and effective”. It aims to describe how the government will put in practice on its ICT Strategy published in March this year, which was criticised for a lack of detail.

The Plan aims to counter this with specific delivery dates for each aspect of the strategy, in 19 key areas, ranging from open source software (where government support has been criticised),  green IT and the  government cloud or G-cloud, to the Public Services Network (PSN) and social media. “In August we announced that we had already saved the public purse £300 million by applying greater scrutiny to our ICT expenditure,” said Maude. “And now we are going even further and save even more money, while delivering higher standards for government ICT.”

Half government departments on cloud by 2015

The plan commits the government to get half of central government departments’ new ICT spending to public cloud computing services by December 2015 and reducing the cost of data centres by 35  percent by October 2016.

While government admits that it is difficult to anticipate total savings as technology is constantly changing, the implementation of this strategy is predicted save taxpayers up to £1.4 billion within the next 4 years, starting with a projected saving of £160 million by next year.  Of this, £30 million will come from the PSN, which by 2015, may generate saving of up to £390 million.

Currently each public body designs, develops, installs and maintains its own network. This approach has directly led to fragmented, expensive and duplicated service delivery and creates barriers to the sharing of services and information. Government aims to modernise its approach to provisioning networks by creating a secure Public Services Network (PSN) constructed from a network of networks, built to common standards that enables the delivery of public services from any place by any provider at lower cost.

By leveraging the expertise, resources and leadership of the big delivery departments, government will have greater capability to meet the challenge of implementation, the report promises. “The rationale is simple – if a solution can be developed to work in these large complex delivery areas, then it is likely to fit the needs of the smaller departments.”

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