UK gov't spends millions on IT security architects

The majority of expenditure over four years was for the controversial National Programme for IT

The Department of Health (DH) has revealed it spent £10.1 million on information security architects over the past four years, mostly for the £13bn NHS National Programme for IT (NPfIT).

The department has previously revealed that it had spent as much as £1.06 billion on the NHS IT scheme last year alone.

In a parliamentary written answer, Care Services minister Paul Burstow revealed that the department had spent around £8 million on information security architects for the NPfIT since 2006-7. The NPfIT provides a range of services including electronic prescriptions, Choose and Book and Summary Care Records.

The remainder of DH's information security staff spend was for "other NHS Connecting for Health".

Burstow pointed out that the figures relate to staff working in the role of information security architect during the period, but that no dedicated team of architects were employed.

He also added that information prior to 2006-7 for the NPfIT was held by the NHS Information Authority, which was abolished in March 2005.

According to the newly-released figures, the most that DH spent on information security architects for the NPfIT was £3 million in 2007-8. This fell steeply to £857,000 in 2009-10.

In September, the government announced a fundamental change of direction for the NPfIT, with ministers saying that a "centralised, national approach (to computer systems)" was no longer required.

The troubled programme also faced collapse earlier this year, after the DH refused to sign a deal with CSC after the outsourcer continued to miss service delivery deadlines.

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