National Audit Office


The National Offender Management Information System (NOMIS) Read full text in English

2009 report autoID-NAO:20150224114548

This report examines the reasons for the delays and cost increases to the original integrated information system and, since the moratorium imposed by the Minister of State in order to seek options for project’s cost reduction, the aims of the revised National Offender Management Service (NOMS) and the progress made, the impact of the delays and rescoping on the costs and benefits achieved, and NOMS’ fitness to deliver. The aim of one integrated information system (C-NOMIS i.e. National Offender Management Information System) was to improve information sharing about offenders; address the lack of continuity and follow up of interventions with offenders as they move within the prison system and between prison and the community; and to provide a clearer alignment of prison and probation work with offenders (end-to-end services).

In the report: part Background, Key Findings (page 5, 6-7)

- NOMIS relied on the Project Board, but did not actively monitor delivery of the project and was unaware of the full extent of delays or the implications of decisions it made upon project cost

- Not appropriate resources and structures in place (e.g. roles and responsibilities were blurred, in particular financial accountability was unclear, and insufficient skilled resource was applied to the project).

- Lack of sustained effort to simplify and standardise business processes across prisons and probation areas (there are 42 probation areas in England and Wales, each with their own ways of working). This status increased the pressure on the project team to approve requests for changes and contributed to significant scope creep.

- Waste of time and recourses

- Lack of any perspectives to achieve the main goals of the programme

- Before revision of the programme it was two years behind schedule and estimated lifetime project costs had risen to £ 690 million (the approved lifetime cost of the project was £ 234 million)

In the report: part On NOMS’ fitness to deliver the revised project (page 8)

- Since summer 2007, a new Senior Responsible Owner brought the problems to light

- NOMS has undertaken detailed reviews of its past performance

- Significant improvements across the key areas including governance, leadership, project management and financial control

In the report: part On the aims of the revised NOMIS programme and the progress made so far (page 7)

- NOMS followed an objective process to identify and compare different options to rescope the programme by selecting the lowest cost option available.

- The option selected has evolved since December 2007 but has not been compared to previously rejected options, including continuing with the original C-NOMIS solution, on a like-for-like basis.

- Successful delivery of the national probation case management system is dependent on an existing probation service infrastructure project which is itself delayed

- This option did not offer the greatest benefit to cost ratio. Funding constraints proved to be the main decisive factor.

- Thus, the main objectives of the programme were unaffordable. It meant that it would not provide a single offender record (just three will be offered) and end-to-end offender management will not be fulfilled.

- The full financial impact of the delays and rescoping of the programme is uncertain but is likely to be at least £41 million. The NAO estimated that NOMS had spent around £15 million on the probation element of programme realized before its revision which is no longer required. Costs to NOMS from benefits deferred due to the delays and costs associated with inefficient processes and system failures are likely to add a further £25 million. Additional costs following the moratorium to close down work were around £1.2 million.

In the report: part Evaluation of project weaknesses against the eight common causes of project failure (page 8-9)

- In 2002, the Office of Government Commerce and NAO agreed eight common causes of project failure which were disseminated to Departments in February 2003.

- In May 2005, as part of the project approval process, the Home Office’s Programme and Project Management Support Unit certified C-NOMIS as not suffering from the common causes of failure.

- Based on our analysis of the underlying causes of the cost increases and delay, we found that C-NOMIS suffered from four of the eight common causes of project failure in full and three in part

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