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Embargoed until 00:01 Wednesday 27 January 2010 - Radical shift in Government ICT will save £3.2 billion annually in public money

Embargoed until 00:01 Wednesday 27 January 2010 - Radical shift in Government ICT will save £3.2 billion annually in public money

News Release issued by the COI News Distribution Service on 26 January 2010

Savings to the public purse of £3.2 billion annually from 2013/14 are to be made through transformations in public sector information technology.

Measures set out in the Government’s ICT Strategy, published today, reveal a market leading plan for a smarter, cheaper and greener public sector ICT infrastructure.

The government will create one secure, resilient and flexible network which will enable every area of government to adapt their ICT to best deliver for the public. Other changes include, for the first time, bringing together Government departments, local government and wider public sector organisations to remove unnecessary overlaps between departments and avoid costly duplication of technology.

Today’s strategy builds on the Smarter Government programme which sets out a raft of ways in which the government intends to halve the public deficit by 2014. These include efficiency savings by increasing the use of online services, streamlining contact with the public and reducing digital exclusion.

Cabinet Office Minister, Angela Smith, said

"Our new ICT Strategy is smarter, cheaper and greener and will save the public purse £3.2 billion annually.

"We are committed to putting the public’s needs first. That is why we are innovating and revolutionising our ICT systems to ensure that they are as effective and efficient as possible for those working in the public sector, and at the same time we are able to make huge savings."

Key measures the Public Sector ICT Strategy include:

Establishing a Government Cloud or 'G-Cloud'. The government cloud infrastructure will enable public sector bodies to select and host ICT services from one secure shared network. Multiple services will be available from multiple suppliers on the network making it quicker and cheaper to switch suppliers and ensure systems are best suited to need.

Reducing of the number of data centres. Consolidating hundreds of computer data centres, which hold all the digital information for Government, to approximately 10 to 12 secure, resilient centres. This will save £300 million, lead to 75% reduction in power and cooling requirements of the centres and ensure data storage is secure, accessible and sustainable.

Creating a Government Applications store. The Application Store will be a marketplace for sharing and reusing online computer programmes (like standard Office applications such as word processing and email) on a pay by use basis. It will speed up procurement and deliver savings of approximately £500 million per year.

Implementing a common desktop strategy. A new set of common designs for desktop computers across the public sector. Historically each organisation has separately specified, built and designed its desktop computers. Creating one set of designs will lead to savings of £400 million per year.

John Suffolk, Government Chief Information Officer, said:

"We have seen a period of significant change over recent months and years. Technology has changed, the economy has changed and ICT in government must also change. This strategy sets out a new model for Government ICT which will deliver a secure and resilient ICT infrastructure that will enable faster, better services for the public."

John Higgins, Director General of Intellect, said:

"It is no longer a question of whether government needs to use technology, but how government can get the best out of its technology. Technology is key to deliver modern public services while at the same time help government reduce the cost of its operations. Intellect and its member companies have worked closely with government over the last few years to ensure that technology delivers real change for the public sector and the citizens it serves. The Government ICT Strategy represents an important milestone in realising the full potential of technology in government."

The ICT industry is responsible for around 3% of global carbon emissions, roughly the same as the aviation industry. As part of Government’s ongoing commitment to the environment, the strategy aims to make public sector ICT carbon neutral across its lifecycle by 2020.

Notes to editors

Embargoed copies of the reports can obtained from the Cabinet Office press office.

The full ICT strategy can be found at and at from 27 January 2010.

A revised version of the Open source, Open standards, Reuse policy has also been published and can be found at from 27 January 2010.

The strategy is divided into fourteen strands of delivery below:

The Public Sector Network Strategy
The Government Cloud (G-Cloud)
The Data Centre Strategy
The Government Applications Store (G-AS)
Shared services
The Common Desktop Strategy
Architecture and standards
The Open Source, Open Standards and Reuse Strategy
The Greening Government ICT Strategy
Information Security and Assurance Strategy
Professionalising IT-enabled change
Reliable project delivery
Supply management
International alignment and coordination

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