The Auditor General has raised concerns about the management of an ICT project at the Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC).
Caroline Gardner says the SSSC's ending of a shared services agreement with the Care Inspectorate to pursue a separate ICT strategy lacked good governance and transparent decision-making.
Her report to Parliament notes that in implementing its ICT strategy, the SSSC did not:
- clearly articulate the intended benefits of the project at the outset, including details of the budget and anticipated cost savings;
- provide clarity around roles and responsibilities for overseeing the project;
- undertake sufficient reporting and monitoring of the project as its scope and costs increased;
- effectively identify or manage all the risks related to the project, including those posed by ending the ICT shared services.
The Scottish Government has provided around £3.1m of funding to the project within its budget allocation to the SSSC.
But Ms Gardner says that, given the lack of a proper business case and fully-costed budget, the SSSC cannot demonstrate that the project - which is expected to cost at least £4.1m - has delivered value for money.
Her report also highlights a lack of continuity in managing the project - three different ICT contractors have been employed as digital lead in the last 12 months.
Ms Gardner 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."