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MPs highlight high ICT spending by Bank of England


Mark Say Managing Editor

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The Bank of England is spending considerably more on ICT than public sector benchmarks, according to a new MPs’ report.

This is part of a problem in which many of the Bank’s processes are overly complicated, inefficient and very costly to administer, according to the review by Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC).

It has identified the Bank’s technology operation at £101.4 million for 2017-18 – 34% higher than the central government benchmark.

The report says the Bank concedes that the extent of legacy systems and manual processing means that there is significant potential for it to make savings in its technology systems and support.

The PAC findings come as part of a broadly critical report, in which it says it is not yet convinced that the Bank’s new vision for central services is sufficiently clear, nor that it has fully considered the changes it could make to modernise practices and maximise efficiency savings.

Other shortcomings have been that it has failed to improve its central services, has too many job titles, is some way off its diversity targets, and has not though radically enough about how to use its property portfolio.

This follows an earlier report by the National Audit Office that said the Bank has not made sufficient efforts to transform its central services.

Need for overhaul

Chair of the PAC Meg Hillier MP said: “The Bank of England wants to overhaul its ways of working but it is still not clear what this will mean in practice.

“Without a coherent vision it will not be possible for the Bank to make informed decisions about the people, technology and locations it needs.

“Poor preparation has been the ruin of many projects examined by the Public Accounts Committee and, indeed, runs counter to the Bank’s own ethos.

“While we are encouraged by the Bank’s commitment to develop a clear vision, the devil is in the detail and we expect the Bank to explain how it will ensure financial savings and other benefits are realised.”

Image by Captain Roger Fenton, public domain through flickr

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