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Auditor criticises Scottish Social Services Council’s digital transformation

21/12/18

Mark Say Managing Editor

Scotland’s auditor general has pointed to serious failings in how the Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) has managed its digital transformation.

Audit Scotland’s newly published report on the programme – which has involved ending the shared services agreement with the Care Inspectorate to pursue a separate ICT strategy – says it has lacked a proper business case and good governance.

As a result, the costs have risen to at least £4.1 million against the original funding of £3.1 million and the SSSC cannot demonstrate that the project has delivered value for money.

The report says the project was originally about an update to Microsoft Office and a new IT infrastructure and case management system but has been extended to take in setting up a new network and ongoing ICT support costs. These were not factored in to the original costing.

Failings

It says there was no clear business case or identification of the risks, insufficient detail in the budget, a lack of any clear statement on the expected benefits, poor governance arrangements and sporadic reporting.

In addition, there have been three changes in the contractor employed as the lead on the project, and when the need for the extra elements was presented in August 2018 it lacked detail.

This has led to a situation where the Scottish Government will have to pick up the extra costs.

Caroline Gardner

Auditor General Caroline Gardner (pictured) said: "The SSSC has fallen short of the standards I would expect around governance and transparency - first around its decision to end the shared services agreement, and then through the implementation of a new digital strategy and the management of that project. 

"The SSSC's planning, reporting and monitoring were inadequate. Effective scrutiny is central to making the best use of public money, but not enough information was provided at the right levels of governance at each stage of the project."

Image from Audit Scotland

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