THE waste of public funds in failed IT projects must stop, according to a report issued today by Holyrood’s Public Audit and Post-legislative Scrutiny Committee.

In the report the committee highlights the unacceptable impact on public funds and on the delivery of public services caused by failed IT projects over the years.

Further, it calls on the Scottish Government to strengthen its oversight of the projects to halt the recurring pattern of failure.

The report recommends a new post with clear oversight of all public sector IT projects and the appointee should have the authority to make systemic improvements and crucially, be held to account when things go wrong.

During its scrutiny, the committee found multiple concerns about the management of public sector IT projects. These included weaknesses in leadership, governance arrangements and support provided by the Scottish Government, poor planning, and underestimates of the complexity, timescale and cost of projects.

Convener of the Public Audit Committee Jenny Marra MSP said: “The recurrence of failed IT projects has been a thorn in the side of public sector spending for too long. Evidence taken throughout the session revealed that oversight and challenge by the Scottish Government has been fractured and inconsistent. Clearly not enough is being done to ensure that lessons are learnt, shared and acted on.

“The amount of funds invested has been significant and the impact on public service delivery and reform is unacceptable. We call upon the Government to act upon the recommendations in our report and ensure that this wasteful cycle is broken once and for all.

“The pandemic has brought digital technology and transformation to the fore, enabling us to respond to a wide range of challenges including remote education, home working and to support remote healthcare provision.

“Never has there been a more urgent moment to ensure the stringent and effective oversight of these projects to guarantee that they are successfully delivered, on time and within budget.”