£10m eGov programme lacks a ‘clear strategy document’

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Last year the Public Accounts Committee published a report on eGov, which aims to update the States’ IT infrastructure and put more services online, that claimed the programme lacked a ‘clear and comprehensive strategy document’ to act as a focal point.

Their concerns were echoed by Chamber of Commerce president Eliot Lincoln, who said last July that it was a ‘struggle’ to see what the programme had achieved so far, despite having already spent £8 million of its budget.

The aims of eGov include integrating systems from different States departments and the introduction of a ‘digital ID’, which is scheduled to be launched in May and will allow Islanders to vote online and access personal data held by the States.

In a newly published follow-up report, PAC chairman Constable Chris Taylor says that, despite last year’s criticisms, the project still lacks a central strategy document.

‘The PAC has been frustrated in its efforts to see a clear strategy document serving as a focal point of reference for all people involved in delivering this programme,’ he said.

‘We have been sent vast amounts of diagrams and spreadsheets, but we are yet to see anything that convinces us the individual projects, or indeed, the overall strategy, are working to specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely objectives.

‘And so, we cannot measure progress or see tangible outputs or know that if something has gone wrong that lessons have been learned so that the next project attempt will be successful.’

Mr Taylor adds that the PAC is concerned about the budgeting procedures of the programme, in particular because of apparent cases of ‘retrospective forecasting’, where details of projected spending were received after projects had actually been completed.

The report also says that the former States chief executive John Richardson failed to produce clear objectives for the programme in a number of areas or evidence of ‘effective communication’ with staff in the programme.

Its recommendations include:

A clear written strategy needs to be produced for the eGov programme against which outputs and outcomes can be measured.

The new chief executive Charlie Parker should establish written corporate, departmental and individual targets for implementing the programme.

Mr Parker should also provide examples of objectives for eGov and clarify who is accountable for delivery.

An explanation should be provided for cases of ‘retrospective forecasting’ identified by the PAC, after spending projections for certain projects were delivered after they had been completed.

Deputy Scott Wickenden, who has responsibility for the eGov programme, thanked the PAC for their report.

‘While we recognise there is a lot more to do, we have made significant progress during this phase of eGov,’ he said.

‘We will study the committee’s report and respond formally in due course.’

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