Feeds

Transport Dept wastes millions on shared services deal

Whitehall computer says 'Nein'

Intelligent flash storage arrays

Shared services - where several government departments share resources in order to save money - might seem like an easy way to reduce costs within the government. But the Department of Transport's complete failure to link human resources, payroll and finance functions for six departments might sound the death knell for the cunning plan.

The National Audit Office report shows the Department of Transport expected setting up the project to cost £55.4m and to make gross savings, before costs, of £112.4m by 2015. This would bring HR, payroll and finance functions into one office supporting six departments such as the DVLA and Driving Standards Agency with 23,000 staff members in total.

But forecasts at March 2008 showed costs had risen to £121.2m and predicted gross savings of £40.1m. Even assuming the most generous possible savings by the Department - of £50m a year - the project will still not achieve break-even until 2012-2-13 - seven years after the project began.

The report said: "The Department delivered a design blueprint but could not agree a common set of underpinning business processes and the resulting customisation... contributed to increased costs and complexity and some of the initial estimates were optimistic... The Programme Board failed to manage these problems."

Other conclusions were that the original plan was unrealistic, management took insufficient action to manage risks of implementation and there was insufficient management of IBM, which picked up £54m of the £72m paid to contractors. Furthermore, the lack of competitive tender process meant the original specification was weak and they had a limited understanding of how much it would cost.

Even worse, the system is still not working to the satisfaction of staff.

Some highlights from the NAO interviews with staff include:

User confidence: "I tell my staff 'If you're putting in for two weeks' leave, put them as separate chunks because I don't trust it to recognise weekends."

Stability of the system: "When you log on, it tells you in German that your password has expired; I think everybody got that."

Treatment of invoices: "We have had some fines, we've had to pay interest to some people for the late payment of invoices but even those, that should be paid the next day; they don't get paid the next day; four days was a good one and the first one took 21 - we'd marked on it 'urgent payment'." ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
The 'fun-nification' of computer education – good idea?
Compulsory code schools, luvvies love it, but what about Maths and Physics?
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Ex-US Navy fighter pilot MIT prof: Drones beat humans - I should know
'Missy' Cummings on UAVs, smartcars and dying from boredom
Yes, yes, Steve Jobs. Look what I'VE done for you lately – Tim Cook
New iPhone biz baron points to Apple's (his) greatest successes
Lords take revenge on REVENGE PORN publishers
Jilted Johns and Jennies with busy fingers face two years inside
Sysadmin with EBOLA? Gartner's issued advice to debug your biz
Start hoarding cleaning supplies, analyst firm says, and assume your team will scatter
Edward who? GCHQ boss dodges Snowden topic during last speech
UK spies would rather 'walk' than do 'mass surveillance'
Doctor Who's Flatline: Cool monsters, yes, but utterly limp subplots
We know what the Doctor does, stop going on about it already
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.