Sir David Nicholson, the Chief Executive of the NHS and Senior Responsible Owner [SRO] of the NPfIT, will remain as the programme’s SRO until the scheme is dismantled, the Department of Health said this week.
The DH’s statement contradicts a suggestion in the media that, as the NPfIT programme board has been disbanded, Nicholson is no longer the scheme’s senior responsible owner.
Had Nicholson stood down as the NPfIT SRO there would have been no direct accountable owner for the £4bn worth of contracts with local service providers BT and CSC, or the scheme’s remaining systems such as Choose and Book, the Summary Care Record and the data “Spine”.
A project’s SRO is held by Parliament to be the “business owner” of a central government project, the person responsible for the scheme’s results. Nicholson took on the job of NPfIT overall SRO when he accepted the appointment of NHS CE in 2006. He has become the programme’s staunchest supporter.
A spokesperson for the Department of Health said: “We have already announced that we are dismantling the National Programme for IT and establishing new governance arrangements to support more local decision making.
“Sir David Nicholson will remain Senior Responsible Owner to ensure a clear line of accountability whilst this work is undertaken.”
It’s unclear when Nicholson will stand down as head of the NPfIT or whether he can be held accountable for the problems on the project under his leadership. In 2008 he declined to order an independent investigation into the NPfIT.