Government officials have ordered the disposal of IT report documentation in a bid to maintain the secrecy of Gateway reviews.

The so-called reviews are independent risk assessments of major government IT projects most recently thrust into public focus by the High Court ruling forcing IT procurement department, the Office of Government Commerce (OGC) to publish details of the ID cards security scheme as a result of a response to a Freedom of Information Act request by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).

The OGC unsuccessfully appealed a request to publish the report in the interests of the public good twice. And now reports claim the OGC has ordered Treasury officials to destroy documents within seven days of delivering the Gateway review reports, so only the OGC and a suitable project owner from the government department involved can access them.

According to presentation documents seen by Computer Weekly, the OGC will ‘assure’ the secrecy of the reviews, even though over 2,000 have been performed to date.

Some commentators saw little need to dispose of such material securely, questioning the true sensitivity of some areas of the IT-related work. Opposition parties were quick to point out the accountability questions around such decisions involving key records and the public purse. An OGC spokesman refused to comment.