'Snake oil' IT projects cost government £26 billion

big ben

The 10 worst public sector projects have cost the government some 26 billion over the course of their development, according to a report in the Independent.

The newspaper listed major projects - such as the 12.7 billion NHS National Programme for IT and the 5 billion National Identity scheme - which have long been criticised for delays and budget overruns.

In its leader column, it noted: "All this spending has been wonderful for IT consultants. The trouble is that the public, who as taxpayers have been funding for it, have been considerably less well served."

"The words 'IT' are commonly associated with modernity, progress and efficiency. And this is no doubt why ministers and civil servants so readily and unquestioningly commissioned such lavish projects. Yet what they have evidently been buying all these years is not any of these things but good old-fashioned snake oil," it continued.

While the projects in questions might not necessarily be called failures by the government - the 10-year-long NHS NPfIT is still in the process of being rolled out - they have been criticised by the National Audit Office or in government reports as flawed.

The Independent's 10 worst projects and their cost so far:

NHS National Programme for IT (12.7 billion)

Defence Information Infrastructure (7.1 billion)

National Identity Scheme (5 billion)

Libra Magistrates digitisation system (400 million)

Rural Payments Agency's Single Payment Scheme (350 million)

GCHQ's IT move (300 million)

National Offender Management Information System/C-Nomis (155 million)

DWP's Benefit Processing Programme (106 million)

FCO's Prism IT upgrade (88.5 million)

DoT's Shared Services (81 million)

Click here for our roundup of the top public sector failures.