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The Swedish National audit Office – IT investments across the borders Presentation at the 6th Performance Auditing of the use of IT Seminar in Beijing,

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Presentation on theme: "The Swedish National audit Office – IT investments across the borders Presentation at the 6th Performance Auditing of the use of IT Seminar in Beijing,"— Presentation transcript:

1 The Swedish National audit Office – IT investments across the borders Presentation at the 6th Performance Auditing of the use of IT Seminar in Beijing, April 2010 April 27, 20151

2 Summary  Sweden has a decentralised management of administration and administrative development.  The Swedish public administration is currently undergoing thorough changes toward an increased level of electronic administration (eGovernment).  The Authority Ordinance (AO, 2007:515) can be seen as an administrative political instrument for achieving intersectional governance and collaboration.  The AO ought to give the agencies strong incentives to perform collaborative urgent IT investments in order to achieve a considerable value in terms of efficiency of the agencies operations, e.g. integrated electronic services. But is this the case?. April 27, 20152

3 Summary cont.  The audit by SNAO identified important cooperative IT investments needed and not being made!  The audit shows that there are two main obstacles when coordinated IT investments take place which the agencies are unable to handle: – a collaborating partner down-prioritises its own part of the IT investment, – current legislation lacks support for carrying out IT investments.  The Government in its ongoing steering of the agencies has not fully taken this responsibility: The Government has to be clearer in its steering, financing and follow-up of the collaborating agencies’ IT investments. April 27, 20153

4 1 Background  The Swedish public administration is currently undergoing thorough changes toward an increased level of electronic administration (eGovernment).  However there are strong indications that urgent cooperative coordinated IT investments are not realised.  If important IT investments fail to take place, the Government may not be able to make use of its full capacity April 27, 20154

5  IT projects / IT- investment » On-going IT-projects » - to slow » - to expensive » - to little value for money » But: » Are urgent IT invest- » ments not being » done at all? If so – why? April 27, 20155

6 2 Audit questions  The audit aims to examine whether failed IT investments in government agency collaborations leads to the Government not making use of possible cost savings, streamlining or increased number of reached targets.  To what extent do urgent IT investments not take place?  What are the causes of urgent IT investments not being carried out?  What are the negative consequences of urgent IT investments not being carried out?  What responsibility do the agencies and the Government respectively have for urgent IT investments that fail to take place? April 27, 20156

7 3 Challenges in the audit project  The audit has been aimed towards agencies that are already cooperating on their IT investments or that see a need to cooperate with other agencies or public actors  Focus on responsibilities - whether the concerned agencies and the Government has taken action to handle the factors that obstruct IT investments from being carried out.  An urgent IT investment refers to the development or procurement of an IT support that contributes to a considerable value in terms of the efficiency of the agency’s operation.  Obstructed IT investments regard such IT investment that due to various circumstances are obstructed from being carried out when agencies have to cooperate or are already cooperating April 27, 20157

8  No prior knowledge about interrupted/obstructed IT- investments! How to get the needed knowledge? Four steps to be taken (“fishing”): 1. an inquiry to eight agencies where we asked them to state their five most important collaborators 2. a questionnaire was sent out to 27 agencies identified in step 1 – Which IT investments, that would have helped develop other public actors, have failed to be carried out in your organisation? – Which IT investments would other public actors have to carry out in order to contribute to the development of your organisation? April 27, 20158

9  urgent obstructed IT investments not being done were reported by 10 different agencies. We requested more information and conducted interviews.  4. The Government’s letters of regulation have been studied for the 12 agencies in order to survey the Government’s governance of the IT investments. This has been supplemented with interviews. April 27, 20159

10 4 Audit criteria The agencies’ responsibility is to:  continuously develop the operation and to promote the development of safe and effective electronic exchange of information within the public administration (  work towards making use of advantages for individuals and the country as a whole, in cooperation with other agencies and actors  notify the Government about the obstacles that make the agency’s undertakings more difficult, as stated above The Government’s responsibility is to:  make it possible to achieve urgent IT investments that contribute to efficient public administration April 27,

11 5 Audit findings and conclusions  In the audit 12 urgent IT investments not being done were reported by 10 different agencies. The circumstances for the collaborative situations were very different: – Information exchange between several government agencies concerning driving license tests; registration of new businesses/companies; collecting the right tax debt or other unpaid debts; financial support to the farmers; registration of ships entering Swedish harbors; company bankrupts documents; registration and investigation of tax or other crimes; collecting, registration and use of geographical data; crisis in the society; – Information exchange between medical doctors working in local (municipal) agencies and the Swedish Social Insurance Agency – Information exchange between border state agencies in countries surrounding Baltic See concerning in order to prevent crime actions over the see. April 27,

12 The obstacles are:  The agencies’ incentive during IT investment is not mainly cooperation - consequently a collaborative partner can make a decision on its own to down-prioritises its own part of the cooperative IT investment,  The agencies state that the legislation lacks support for the carrying out of IT investments Even though the agencies are unable to handle the obstacles the Government assigns the agencies to handle problems related to collaborative IT investments themselves. April 27,

13 6 Recommendations The Government in its ongoing steering of the agencies has not fully taken this responsibility: The Government has  to be clearer in its steering, financing and follow-up of the collaborating agencies’ IT investments. The Government Offices need to have efficient forms for intersectoral coordination between departments, for the steering of agencies’ IT investments. The government need to solve “the investment paradox”, i.e. that the IT investment is not realised if it only benefits the other party.  make an overhaul of the agencies’ register legislation and other relevant legislation in order to create the prerequisites for carrying out IT investments in government agency collaborations. Furthermore, the overhaul should be adjusted between the need for efficiency and the need for protection of people’s integrity. April 27,

14 7 Lessons to be learned  The need for a new method to survey certain IT Investments (”fishing”)  You don’t know if the method will give you relevant audit information  Therefor it is difficult to plan in advance – you have to wait and see and then act fast  A lot of communication ( ) with many agencies is time consuming  In the end it was a successful audit project – we succeded to explore urgent cooperative IT investment that have not been made, and that the problem is bigger than we expected! April 27,


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