Dutch gov't wastes billions on ICT failures: MP

The parliamentary committee that investigated ICT projects made a "safe estimation" that the Dutch government wastes between 1 and 5 billion euro annually by ICT failures.

The committee, led by Ton Elias (VVD), presented the final report on Wednesday. The report calls it an "unacceptably high amount".

The committee came to hard conclusions regarding the way the government has dealt with IT projects. The report reads that the government often has no control over its IT projects regarding the costs, time or even the end result. According to them an IT authority must be established to prevent that the government's future IT projects turn into expensive failures.

It is difficult to determine the exact amount that the government IT projects cost annually. According to the committee nobody knows how much the government spends on IT, and therefore no one knows how much money is involved with failures. "A safe estimate based on information from various experts amounts to 1 to 5 billion wasted per year," the report states.

According to the committee the Second Chamber renounced its supervisory role by "lack of interest in IT and a lack of expertise in the IT field".  The proposed Bureau IT-testing (BIT) will fall under the Ministry of General Affairs and projects of above 5 million will be tested on "common sense rules". The project may only proceed after it has been approved by BIT.

Minister Stef Blok called the committee's conclusions "a strong message to the ministers and everyone who is involved in the decision making, procurement and implementation of IT projects." Blok continued that the government will consider the committee's recommendations carefully.