Government negotiating on tax credit refund
HMRC is in 'delicate negotiations' with EDS on retrieving money the firm owes, according to the Treasury's parliamentary secretary.
The firm, now part of HP, agreed to pay HM Revenue and Customs £71m following severe IT problems over tax credits in 2003, with £26.5m of that discounted from future government business. HMRC had originally claimed £209m.
However, as Conservative MP Richard Bacon told a debate on findings of the Public Accounts Committee in Parliament on 23 October 2008, most of it is still outstanding.
"Apart from the fact [the agreement] gave government departments a rather strong incentive to award EDS further business despite, rather than because of, its track record, it has been clear that over the past two and half to three years since the agreement was reached hardly any money has been paid," he told the Commons.
Angela Eagle, parliamentary secretary to the Treasury, answered that HMRC is "in delicate negotiations on that very subject. The time by which HMRC expects to be paid runs out in the next couple of months and the acting CEO made it clear that he intends to be paid," she said, referring to HMRC's acting head Dave Hartnett.
Eagle added that the government was determined to tackle waste through more joint procurement, pointing out that the public sector spends £175bn this way each year, with £70bn by Whitehall departments.
"As part of transforming the government procurement process, we are also trying to give much more training and recognition to procurement professionals across Whitehall. We want to begin to create a cross-Whitehall and cross-departmental culture of procurement," she said.
Following criticism by Labour MP Austin Mitchell of "too much enthusiasm for big IT projects," such as the NHS National Programme for IT, Eagle said that the Office of Government Commerce is developing a system called the Major Projects Review Group to monitor the progress of large projects.
Mitchell replied that so far, the role of the OGC has been "that of a marriage bureau, lining up departments with IT firms and consultancies, rather than looking at the projects themselves and asking, 'Are they too big? Are they trying to do too much?'"
This article was originally published at Kablenet.
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Barrack Obama and russian soldiers
"delicate communications" bollocks
A few years ago I underpaid my council tax by 38 quid, accidentally filing out my cheque wrongly.
The delicate negotiations I got were a threat of having the bailifs sent round and an additional charge of 75 quid for the priviledge, all within 5 weeks of receipt and cashing of my check, no advance warning letter, or any assumption that an error had been made, basically just a financial shotgun to the head.
I would have loved to sit in on some of those "delicate negotiations"
"Govt- we want 209mill back you theiving bast++++"
"EDS- F+++ Off"
"EDS- OK. but we want 3000000000000000000mill worth of contracts in return, G+T Gord to seal the deal, and in 3 years time when the publics had enough of you and thrown you out, how about a non-exec role"
Gogt- spits in palm and shakes hand"
Its always easy to blame the IT provider
But as anyone who has worked on a government IT project will acknowledge, the specifications change faster than you can write the code and the none of the government counterparts have the balls to make a decision in case its the wrong one. The only way forward for the IT industry is to say "no, you asked you X you're getting X. If you now want Y, then that will be another release/project".
That would REALLY highlight where the wasted money is going.