The Office of the CIO at the Home Office exists to support the department and, as with other, government and public-sector entities to feed off and contribute to the work of colleagues. Since 2007, the Home Office has helped by setting out a Home Office Strategy for ICT. The 2009/10 version which stresses that "the pooling and reuse of our systems and technology resources wherever possible", thus pointing to the dire need for making do with less in the sector.
With a shared service model nearing completion, the Home Office expects to cut between £40 and £50 million from its back office costs. The Shared Business Services programme, run by Fujitsu has been introducing Oracle eBusiness to the Home Office since 2006.
As a Fujitsu client the Home Office was hit by the strikes that took place at the IT and services provider in early 2010.
IT is crucial to the Home Office's work on borders, identity management and crime. A major component of current work focuses on the Information Assurance programme set up in March 2008 to implement findings of the report on Data Handling Procedures in Government and other reviews. The Home Office claims to be making "good progress and we aim to significantly improve the information management culture across the organisation".
The already established Next Generation IST Transformation Programme is moving the Home Office and partners towards a common infrastructure designed to replace "20 years of personal productivity applications [that] have ingrained individualistic behaviours" as one report stated.
Once again, the aim is for that most elusive of targets: joined-up government. CIO Annette Vernon is attempting to replace the spaghetti of accumulated networks, applications and desktops with something more manageable but there is no such thing as a steady state in the job. As well as sorting through the underlying complexity, the CIO's office will also face challenges from data security at the 2012 Olympics, identity cards (if the scheme is not scrapped), the Impact programme covering police systems and regulations covering communications monitoring.
As often, the Home Office will also be scrutinised to check its own house is in order and its position was not helped when it breached the Data Protection Act as partner PA Consulting lost data held on prisoners.