The government’s “constant” rebranding and reorganisation of Whitehall departments has directly led to £153 million in extra IT expenditure over the last four years.
In a new report, the National Audit Office lambasted the expenditure needed to set up the new departments and restructure operations. The IT costs represent around 20 percent of a total of £780 million estimated to have been spent on a range of areas, also including staff and property changes and rebranding.
Some of the technology costs included consultancy, signing leases, and cancellation payments.
Around half of government departments questioned for the report said website development and IT purchasing had a moderate or high impact on reorganisation costs.
Every year, on average 22 departments are reorganised or rebranded. In one instance four years ago, former deputy prime minister John Prescott spent £645 on a brass plate outside his office, renaming the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister as the Deputy Prime Minister’s Office.
The NAO said it remained unclear and unmeasured what the benefits were from some of the changes. It also criticised the government for starting the changes without targeting specific benefits.
The Cabinet Office said reorganisation was needed to “best develop and implement the government’s policies and deliver on key priorities”.