The lack of 21st century IT in a £300m world-leading litigation centre is starting to resemble a national embarrassment.
Public sector IT disasters are among those perennial stories, a bit like politicians having affairs or footballers being paid eye-watering wages. But revelations that the Rolls Building won’t have a fit-for-purpose IT system until next year at the earliest are bad news for everyone, including UK plc.
The fact we still don’t have anything remotely suitable for the 21st century in a £300m world-leading litigation centre is starting to resemble a minor national embarrassment.
As well as throwing away taxpayer money we risk losing business to our more technologically advanced global competitors.
While it is important to shed light on the time this beleaguered project is taking to complete, if the IT takes the form of a genuinely modern, cost-effective, off-the-shelf system when it finally arrives the project will deserve everyone’s support.
It may be unwise to speak too soon, but the Supreme Court’s replacement of its IT system next year could be a positive move in this direction.
Although we don’t yet know the supplier and cost, the court is now talking about making ‘considerable savings’ by switching its troubled £1m IT system to a new provider.
The UK cannot afford to continue running its commercial courts for a paper-based world in what is now a digital era. So any attempts that look like a departure from the old ways of doing technology ought to be welcomed.
It will be in all our interests to watch this space.
Kathleen Hall is a reporter on the Gazette