By Max Clarke

The Government’s IT spend is “a recipe for rip-offs”, a group of MPs have said.

Overreliance on an ‘oligopoly’ of large contractors and a lack of know how has seen the government paying up to 10 times more for hardware than in the private sector, the Public Administration Select Committee have said today.

"We heard truly worrying accounts about the amount of money successive Governments have wasted on failed IT projects,” said Bernard Jenkin, chair of the committee.

“According to some sources the Government pays between seven and ten times more than the standard commercial rate for its work: however the Government does not collect the information needed to verify these claims."

The committee recommends breaking purchases down into more manageable contracts, as well as improving knowledge among staff.

The scathing report also encourages dealing directly with a wider range of suppliers, including fostering better relationships with small and medium sized enterprises.

Continued Jenkin: "To address these challenges successfully the Government needs to possess the necessary skills and knowledge in-house, to manage suppliers and understand the potential IT has to transform the services it delivers.

"Currently the outsourcing of the government’s whole IT service means that many civil service staff, along with their knowledge, skills, networks and infrastructure have been transferred to suppliers. The Government needs to rebuild this capacity urgently.

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