Third of UK.gov projects expected to fail due to lack of IT knowledge

The National Audit Office (NAO) has warned that one third of the government's major projects are expected to fail over the next five years.

In it's progress report on UK.gov big projects, NAO stated that 37 of the 106 projects due to be finished by 2021 are "in doubt or unachievable if action is not taken to improve delivery." The Government Major Project Portfolio currently has 149 projects worth over £500bn, with £25bn expected to have been spent between 2015 and 2016.

Of the projects listed, 40 of them are IT related with half of the projects flagged as either amber or red according to the Major Project Authority annual report. Projects marked as amber mean that there are major risks or issues that are apparent in a number of key areas, whereas red means successful delivery of the project is unachievable.

"I acknowledge that a number of positive steps have been taken by the Authority and client departments. At the same time, I am concerned that a third of projects monitored by the Authority are red or amber-red and the overall picture of progress on project performance is opaque. More effort is needed if the success rate of project delivery is to improve." said Amyas Morse, head of the NAO.

The reasons behind this seems to stem around the poor early planning, lack of clear, consistent performance data and portfolio management and a general lack of leadership of a project. The report also stated a lack of general IT skills and capabilities which attributed to the project issues and ongoing difficulties.