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Departmental ICT

Volume 497: debated on Wednesday 14 October 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what IT systems have been in development for use within his Department in the last five years; what the reason for the development of each system was; how much has been spent on the development of each system; and which systems have been subsequently (a) implemented, (b) terminated prior to implementation and (c) terminated following implementation. (290522)

Data on costs of IT systems could be provided only at disproportionate cost. Instead data has been provided for the entire project where IT system development costs are a significant proportion.

The projects listed are information technology projects in DEFRA that were estimated to cost more than £1 million over the life of the project. Costs listed exclude the day-to-day running costs after the completion of the project. The figures quoted are either the actual cost for completed projects or the latest forecast estimates as at April 2009 for those that are not yet completed. The estimated costs to completion are subject to change and the Department carries out regular reviews of the projects and their associated business cases at key strategic points.

Projects costing less than £1 million, those being carried out within Executive agencies, projects transferred to the Department for Energy and Climate Change and projects initiated after November 2008 have all been excluded as such data is not held centrally. Collection would incur a disproportionate cost to the Department.

No projects have been terminated following implementation.


Reason for development

Actual/expected completion date


Actual/estimated costs (£)


To provide Electronic Data and Records Management system for DEFRA

Project closed in November 2005. Pilot phase demonstrating that predicted productivity benefits would not be fully realised and costs would be higher than expected and would outweigh the quantified benefits. Further cost to taxpayer avoided estimated at £19 million.


Customer and Land Database (CLAD)

To enable a limited set of Rural Payments Agency (RPA) customer and land data sets to be shared securely within the DEFRA delivery body Network

March 2010



Customer Information Programme

To enable DEFRA to hold improved customer information

Project closed during development phase in June 2007 due to reprioritisation of budget. Project deliverables (valued at £247,000 were reused in CLAD development)



Development of an online application for management of plant health-related processes. It is used by plant health and seeds inspectors to record licensed inspections of plants coming into and out of the UK

April 2007



Enabling Technology Programme 2009-10

Annual investment programme in high priority infrastructure and application architecture developments driven by DEFRA Network’s business needs

March 2010



National Equine Database

Joint industry/public sector development of a database to hold data on ‘horse passports’ for the purpose of monitoring passport compliance and for disease control surveillance

December 2006



Noise Mapping

IT system developed to meet requirements of Environmental Noise (England) Regulations 2006 to enable the production of Noise Maps to help production of plans to manage noise issues and effects

May 2007



RADAR (Rapid Analysis and Detection of Animal-related Risks)

Development of a data warehouse bringing together information about livestock populations and diseases from many different Government data sources allowing for analysis to be performed in event of a disease outbreak

March 2009



UK Location Programme

DEFRA leads the cross-Government UK Location Programme, a joint programme to implement the INSPIRE EU Directive and the UK Location Strategy

December 2012



Phoenix IT Project

To handle licences for protected species covered by international conventions

Project closed in June 2006 due to reprioritisation of budgets. Further cost to taxpayer avoided estimated at £2.5 million


Renew IT

Providing a modern and efficient IT working environment based on refreshed IT services

March 2009



Spatial Information Repository (SPIRE)

Supports policy making and operational delivery by providing access to up-to-date geographic information

March 2010



Waste Data Strategy

Development of a data warehouse that takes data from Environment Agency and DEFRA systems to allow for production of summary and ad-hoc reports/analysis to produce a sound evidence base for improved waste management policy development

June 2007



Web Rationalisation

To support the Transformational Government Web Rationalisation Programme

March 2011



Whole Farm Approach

Current work is centred on providing online access to key transactional systems from various DEFRA agencies via the Whole Farm Approach including single farm payment, environmental stewardship and cattle tracing

March 2011