Dutch audit chamber underlines continued problems in state IT management

Thursday 16 May 2019 | 13:27 CET | News

The Dutch government still needs to work on its IT security and management, according to a report from the general audit chamber. Problems include a lack of expertise at ministries, as well as insufficient information for parliament on ongoing ICT management and quality. 

Much of the information provided to parliament is on new ICT projects. The report estimates that around 25 percent of the national government spending on ICT is for new projects, which was worth EUR 663 million in 2017. The other three-quarters is largely for maintaining existing systems, but there is limited oversight on this, and the interior minister needs to do better at keeping parliament up to date and aware of upcoming needs, the report said. 

The Tax Service has shown the problems with keeping ICT systems updated, and progress is still not fast enough there. This makes it increasingly difficult to implement new fiscal policies approved by the government and improve services to taxpayers. For example, the ICT system for VAT dates from 1982, and the rates used can no longer be adjusted. If the rates are to change, it would take around five years to build a new system. 

The report also found significant security problems at at least 11 national agencies, with the situation worsening over the past year. 

The audit chamber called on the interior minister to assume more responsibility and take a greater coordinating role for the government on information security. For example, the minister should have the authority to put the matter on the agenda of other ministries and raise the issue in cabinet meetings. 

Kajsa Ollongren, the interior minister, admitted in a presentation to parliament that not all ICT projects were going to plan. She presented the ministry's annual report on running the national administration and highlighted efforts in the past year such as a new multi-year strategic agenda for ICT, a programme to fill the many ICT job vacancies in state organisations and departmental measures to improve IT security. 

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Categories: General
Countries: Netherlands
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