£2bn wasted by HMG on IT projects since 2000

The cost to the taxpayer of abandoned Whitehall computer projects since 2000 has reached almost £2bn – not including the bill for an online crime reporting site that was cancelled this week, a survey by the Guardian reveals.

The failure of the multimillion pound police site marks the latest chapter in the government’s litany of botched IT projects, with several costly schemes biting the dust. Major blunders overseen by Downing Street have included the Child Support Agency’s much-derided £486m computer upgrade – which collapsed and forced a £1bn claims write-off – and an adult learning programme that was subjected to extensive fraud.

Top of the ministries for wasting public money is the Department for Work and Pensions, which squandered more than £1.6bn by abandoning three major schemes – a new benefit card which was based on outdated technology; the upgrade to the CSA’s computer which could not handle 1.2m existing claims; and £140m on a streamlined benefit payment system that never worked properly.

The Guardian’s survey of abandoned projects is not exhaustive and the total of £1,865bn is likely to be a considerable underestimate of the actual cost to taxpayers because neither Whitehall nor the National Audit Office, parliament’s financial watchdog, keep definitive lists of which schemes go wrong.



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