Government abandons £25m Scope project

The Cabinet Office has admitted that phase two of the Scope IT project, designed to improve collaboration between the security and intelligence agencies, has been abandoned at a cost of £24.4 million.

Jul 23, 2009
By Paul Jacques
His Royal Highness Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh (picture: PFEW)

The Cabinet Office has admitted that phase two of the Scope IT project, designed to improve collaboration between the security and intelligence agencies, has been abandoned at a cost of £24.4 million.

Scope 2 was designed to allow the secure sharing of sensitive intelligence data between relevant departments in government and officials abroad. The first phase of Scope enabled the secure sharing of data between the intelligence agencies and was completed without problems.

The termination of the project follows an announce­ment in July of last year that work on it had been suspended amid reports of technological problems and escalating costs.

A spokesperson for the Cabinet Office said: “The decision to terminate the contract for phase two was not taken lightly, but after legal and technical advice.”

Cabinet Office minister Tessa Jowell told Parliament on last week: “Phase two of the programme was cancelled following the failure of the main commercial supplier to meet key contractual milestones.”

She added that the Treasury had approved a write-off of £24.4m on the project.

Liberal Democrat Shadow Cabinet Office minister, Jenny Willott, attacked the Government for wasting money on the programme and said: “What’s particularly worrying is the nature of the Scope programme. It is essential that security and intelligence agencies and government departments have effective systems for close collaboration.”

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