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The Ministry of Justice’s electronic tagging programme has been criticised by National Audit Office (NAO) for failing to deliver value for money.
NAO conducted a report called The new generation electronic monitoring programme which aims to examine the key reasons why the programme to deliver a new generation electronic monitoring service has not been delivered so far, and whether the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) is addressing the remaining risks in its current approach.
It found that the MoJ’s troubled programme was hampered by the use of a ‘high-risk and unfamiliar’ tower delivery model since blacklisted by the Government Digital Service, and criticised the MoJ for failing to deliver value for money.
The report criticised the MoJ for a number of reasons linked to the programme’s delay. These include: the Ministry not doing enough to establish the case for location monitoring tagging using GPS; the Ministry’s requirements proving too ambitious; the planned timescale for the programme being unachievable; and the programme not delivering the intended benefits within five years after the initiation.
As well as holding the MoJ’s choice of delivery model responsible for its delay, the report said the MoJ failed to anticipate and resolve the implications of the delivery model, did not sufficiently adapt its approach to help smaller suppliers manage the pressures of a large programme, its government arrangements were weak, and it lacked the capacity and capability to manage the difficulties affecting the programme in the context of competing priorities and wider challenges.
The report states that, following internal and external reviews of the programme in 2015 and 2016, the MoJ has taken action to address many of the issues, including changing its approach to buying available off-the-shelf tags and bringing the integration function back in house, and making its leadership more stable and cohesive. However, significant risks remain. The MoJ, according to the report, will need to be more closely involved in integrating the end-to-end service and will have to build and sustain its technical and programme management capabilities to effectively perform its expanded role.