National Law Enforcement Data Programme’s shift to agile, multiple product approach has improved confidence but remains ‘highly complex’
The National Law Enforcement Data Programme has passed an accounting officer assessment published on 6 September, but “remains highly complex with associated levels of risk and as such requires ongoing attention to delivery and focus on feasibility and risk mitigation”.
The assessment, approved by permanent secretary Matthew Rycroft, says that the programme’s 2021 reset has led to significantly improved delivery confidence. The programme initially aimed to build a single system replacing both the Police National Computer (PNC) – which dates from 1974, cannot display images and must be decommissioned by March 2026 – and the Police National Database. Last year, the Home Office shifted it to deliver multiple products using agile development, and to focus on replacing the PNC.
The official assessment, which follows approval of the revised business case by HM Treasury, says that the current delivery plan is to complete all development early in 2024 with full adoption by end of 2025. “The programme’s delivery model is based upon delivering a series of products rather than a single ‘big-bang delivery’,” it says. “The delivery is now organised around teams that are focused on products. This allows greater flexibility of commissioning and transparency of costs.”
It adds that the Home Office has learnt from reviews including National Audit Office recommendations to adopt product-centric design and agile development. The Home Office has involved more police colleagues in key programme roles, which should help to ensure their requirements will be met.
In December 2021, Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee said the programme was at least five years late and hundreds of millions of pounds over budget, and continued the Home Office’s “miserable record” with digital programmes.