In 2009-10 the Government spent £671 billion of our money, that’s around £10.5k per person in the UK. The problem is they only had £496 billion in the bank, a shortfall of £175 billion. Well, we may struggle with the size of the numbers but it doesn’t take a mathematician to see the country has a major problem. If we had a 26 per cent shortfall on our household expenditure we would be taking some drastic action. But, it’s the Governments problem they will sort it!
For the majority of us it may feel that way, as we cannot do much to impact this worrying economic landscape, but does technology, does ICT have a part to play. A recent report into the UK government’s ICT spend by the National Audit Office (NAO) described a dysfunctional ICT landscape, including poor procurement, massive duplication of assets, poor management information, little re-use of ICT assets across departments, and inadequate and fragmented IT governance. So is there big savings to be made?
The UK government’s ICT budget is £16billion pa, that is less than 3 per cent of government spend, it is less than the expected interest to be paid on the UK debt [£27b]. Reducing ICT expenditure will have very little impact on the overall issue, but it needs to be done. Aggregation, consolidation and using common standards are all good common sense things to do, but saving of 20-30 per cent on ICT is just a drop in the ocean [£4.8b].
The real benefits of ICT, is in what it enables the government to do. If you can make savings across the whole spectrum of expenditure, by making changes in how things are done, the efficiency savings can be significant. In simplistic terms a 1 per cent efficiency saving across government would be greater than a 30% reduction in ICT spend.
Is this a realistic assumption? Well BT think’s it is, and are willing to look at ways of providing ICT that will change the way the public sector works. In line with BT’s commitment to the Public services Network we are working with various organisation to look at how things can be done differently, from conferencing through to full blown partnerships.