100s of Millions over budget: government IT projects

Failed or too expensive, some of the government's IT projects have come under fire. Parliament will be hearing questions about these on Friday. 

The Parliament Commission ICT is investigating how matters can be improved for the future, with the help of a few famous examples. The modernization of the Municipal Basic Administration (GBA), The Ov-chip card, police and fire department system C2000 and the Electronic Patients Dossier (EPD), will all serve as reminders of the possibilities.

The members of the commission don't want to make public too many details or point accusatory fingers. They do want to announce that whistleblowers reported themselves out of their own volition, and that some don't want to appear before the commission due to "company-sensitive information."

Commission president Ton Elias (VVD) wants to come with recommendations later in the year. He especially wants to know if there is a large-scale structural problem with the government's big IT-projects, he told NOS Radio 1 Journaal.

"The government often takes a wrong approach wot IT-projects, and that already begins with who pays the bills", says René Veldwijk, one of the four members of the external soundboard group that helps the IT commission with preparations.

Veldwijk uses the word 'perverse' to describe the municipalities' lack of interest in the running of the project. They pay the bill, but are not interested in the rest. That leads to exceeding costs, delays and unsatisfactory IT-solutions. He also believes that the government is not learning from its mistakes.

"The easy answer to the question why no lessons are being taken from failures, is that administrative organizations try to blur the issues after a failed project, and Parliament does not enjoy 'implementation details'", he says.

On the order of the House of Representatives, the commission has to put an end to this. On Friday, Hans Mulder, IT-entrepreneur and professor, and Stephan Corvers, an expert on the area of tenders, will be heard.