Government IT Failures

While thinking about how an ID database might be designed, implemented and rolled out with a budget of £3.1bn I decided to have a look into the government’s track record on IT projects.

If you find any more government IT failures out there do add them here, I suggest limiting to failures of the UK government for now as otherwise this page could quickly become unmanageable.

May 2001, Payroll system not delivered 9 years late
Company McDonnell Douglas Information Systems
Department Department of Finance and Personnel
Cost £3.3m
http://www.theregister.co.uk/2004/11/15/civil_service_project/

2001, MoD Computers hacked ‘at least’ 48 times
Company n/a
Department Ministry of Defence
Cost unknown
http://www.vnunet.com/news/1128637

2002, Government website hands out money to ‘fraudsters’
Company Capita
Department Department for Education and Skills
Cost Unknown
http://www.computerweekly.com/Article109438.htm

November 2004, 80,000 Staff Unable to process new pensions
Company Microsoft & Electronic Data Systems (EDS)
Department Department for Work and Pensions
Cost unknown, but the support contract costs £2bn annually
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/4044085.stmhttp://www.publictechnology.net/modules.php?op=modload&name=News&file=article&sid=2203http://www.theregister.co.uk/2004/11/26/dwp_network_outage/

November 2004, Police in England & Wales unable to use fingerprint system NAFIS for over a week.
Company Northrop Grumman (TRW at time of implementation)
Department Police Information Technology Organisation (public-body)
Cost Implementation cost £88m
http://www.theregister.co.uk/2004/12/02/nafis_comms_glitch/

May 2006, 18,300 MOT testing centres disrupted by technical problems with MOT system delivered 4 years late.
Company Siemens Business Services
Department Ministry of Transport
Cost Implementation cost: £230mCompensation cost: unknown
http://www.theregister.co.uk/2004/12/30/pcs_slams_mot_system_delays/http://www.theregister.co.uk/2006/05/16/mot_computer_crash/

Inland Revenue

  • http://www.theregister.co.uk/2005/10/11/eds_revenue_rage/
  • http://www.theregister.co.uk/2005/09/09/inland-revenue_destroys_1m_tax_records/
  • http://www.theregister.co.uk/2005/08/05/eds_wins_prisoner_deal/
  • http://www.channelregister.co.uk/2005/04/19/inland_revenue_computers_back_to_future/

Benefits system

  • http://www.theregister.co.uk/2005/04/12/dwp_research_csa/
  • http://www.theregister.co.uk/2005/06/22/eds_revenue_again/

Gov computer stuff

  • http://www.channelregister.co.uk/2005/07/12/homeoffice_thieves_paradise/
  • http://www.theregister.co.uk/2005/07/05/mps_openness_ogc/
  • http://www.theregister.co.uk/2005/06/27/id_card_costings/
  • http://www.theregister.co.uk/2005/02/14/eds_government_probe/

Corporate identity – new scandal over ID cards Has a list of Government IT Failures.