The challenge of transformational change: The case of UK central government

Cha, J., Newman, M. and Winch, G. (ed.) Forthcoming. The challenge of transformational change: The case of UK central government. Cranfield University.

TitleThe challenge of transformational change: The case of UK central government
EditorsCha, J., Newman, M. and Winch, G.

UK central government has a challenging ambition for the ways it delivers services to the public; it aims to “deliver world-class digital services and transform the way government operates, from front-end to back office, in a modern and efficient way” (Cabinet Office and Government Digital Service, 2017:6). Yet failed information systems (IS) projects are at the root of a series of government “blunders” (King and Crewe, 2013), and the UK Office of Government Commerce (OGC) could report in 2005 that “30-40% of systems to support business change, deliver no benefits whatsoever” (OGC, 2005). Performance has undoubtedly improved over the last decade facilitated by various Cabinet Office initiatives amongst which the foundation of the Major Projects Authority in 2011 (now Infrastructure and Projects Authority) represents a significant landmark, but challenges remain. The aim of this chapter is to review the recent performance of UK central government transformation projects over the last decade in order to understand how they are now performing, and to identify ways of improving their performance further.
Our perspective for undertaking this analysis is drawn from recent research (Winch, 2014; Winch and Leiringer, 2016) on the three domains of project organising for infrastructure project management which identifies the crucial role of the infrastructure owner in consummate project delivery. Our evidence comes from a content analysis of the National Audit Office (NAO) Value-for-Money (VfM) reports on central government IS projects published over the period 2004-2013. The structure of this chapter is as follows. We first review the three domains model and its application to government transformation projects. Then the analysed data sets and the applied method are explained followed by the key findings and implications. Finally, we end with concluding remarks.

PublisherCranfield University

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