The coalition government will publish all new IT contracts it signs from July, as part of what prime minister David Cameron has called “greater transparency”.
The move follows on from the publishing of senior civil service salaries earlier this week, which revealed that seven departmental IT directors were being paid more than Cameron.
The IT contract data is being released six months ahead of other government agreements, reflecting the attention the new government is placing on changing the management of large technology-led projects.
In the mean time, from this Friday the Treasury will also open up to the public its COINS (Combined Online Information System) database of Whitehall spending, an eagerly awaited move. The database contains historic data for the 2009-10 financial year, but it remains unclear whether the data revealed will be categorised by project or if it will separate out IT data.
In a letter sent to the heads of each department, Cameron insisted there would be greater transparency, adding that this was key to enabling “the public to hold politicians and public bodies to account” as well as to reducing the deficit and delivering “better value for money in public spending”.
Other data will also be released, including crime figures and hospital infection rates. The move would help businesses “to build innovative applications and websites using public data”, Cameron added.
Tom Steinberg, the founder of ‘e-democracy’ website MySociety, will advise ministers on the strategy of opening up other government data online.