Spending Review: an IT summary and what happens next

The Chancellor George Osborne is requiring that each government department publishes later this year its business plans, setting out the details of its reform plans, in particular:- vision and priorities to 2014-15- a structural reform plan,...

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The Chancellor George Osborne is requiring that each government department publishes later this year its business plans, setting out the details of its reform plans, in particular:

- vision and priorities to 2014-15

- a structural reform plan, including actions and deadlines for implementing reforms over the
next two years

- key indicators against which it will publish data to show the cost and impact of public
services and departmental activities. The Treasury says that this section will be published for consultation to ensure that the Government agrees the most relevant and robust indicators in time for the beginning of the Spending Review period in April 2011.

Osborne also said that £2bn will be spent on setting up the "Universal Credit" which will replace the current system of means-tested working age benefits with an integrated payment over the next two Parliaments.

One unanswered question is: will the £2bn to be spent on Universal Credit mean large sums for the usual IT suppliers despite the aim of the Cabinet Office to promote innovation and the work of IT SMEs?

Or to put it more bluntly: will welfare cuts help subsidise some of the big IT companies?

NHS

The Spending Review document published today says that the NHS will need to make efficiencies to deal with rising demand from an ageing population and the "increased costs of new technology". 

HM Revenue and Customs

The document further says that HM Revenue and Customs "will invest in new technology to improve risk assessment capability, better join up taxpayer information and streamline internal processes". 

It adds:

"Savings [at HMRC] will be maximised from IT and other procurement contracts and administration costs will be reduced by a third with reductions in the size of corporate services and back office support functions".

Police

Police resource funding is being cut by 14% in real terms by 2014-15. Savings will be made from "efficiencies in IT, procurement and back office functions, as terms and conditions of service are reviewed ..."

UK Border Agency

The UK Border Agency will be expected to save around £500m by reducing the costs of
support functions, estates and IT.

Criminal Justice 

Spending on new IT and court projects  "will be limited to essential capacity".

DWP

There will be an expected overall resource savings of 26% in real terms on DWP’s core budget by 2014-15, in part through "greater use of digital services for processing benefits".

The document says:

"Data sharing with other departments will facilitate streamlined processes that reduce costs to government and save time for customers. For example the ‘Tell Us Once’ project will ensure customers only have to report a birth or bereavement to one government agency."

Public sector unions say they launch a "massive campaign" against the cuts, possibly including strikes. 

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