Politics, IT, Spending, and GIS


2010-03-31 00:17




general, opinion


australia, datalinking, gis, IT, politics, spending





image With an impending election in the UK, the Conservatives, the current opposition party have decided to try and win some votes by cutting spending in IT. On the upside they plan to scrap ID cards if elected. Which GIS projects this may affect is impossible to tell as:

He [the shadow chancellor] was unable to cite specific projects, as opposition parties are not allowed to inspect government contracts.

What would be ideal is if IT projects were able to be scrutinised by the opposition parties, and the public. It appears Australia is far more open with their government tenders, and even include the `actual costs <https://www.tenders.gov.au/?keyword=gis&event=public.advancedsearch.keyword&orderBy=Publish+Date&submitSort=Go>`__ involved which would be considered as extremely sensitive business data in other countries.


During the good times IT projects are always associated with savings and efficiencies. During the bad times they now seem to be seen as an extravagance, and prone to failure. A good point made in the comments on The Register article was:

Personally, I’d like all large businesses subject to the same auditing and publishing requirements that government IT projects are so we can get some perspective. Starting with the media. I strongly suspect that government projects are no worse than anyone else’s, but they’re the only ones open to serious scrutiny.

Amongst the projects likely to face cuts is the National Programme for IT a National Health Service IT project with a budget of around £12bn, that was set to be “the world’s biggest civil information technology programme.” Whether or not patients are likely to benefit is very much up for debate. What does seem to be lacking in this plan is the use of GIS and geospatial technologies, apparently due to a lack of expertise. Maybe ESRI should have sent the NHS their brochure.