Feeds

Spooks scramble to replace failed secret messaging system

CLiC to pick up the pieces

Build a business case: developing custom apps

MI6 and GCHQ have begun work to replace an aborted secret communications system that wasted tens of millions of pounds.

The failed project, SCOPE Phase II, was run out of the Cabinet Office with IBM as the main contractor. The intelligence agencies have taken direct control of its replacement, CLiC (Collaboration in the Intelligence Community).

CLiC is described as a "a low-risk, inexpensive approach, providing incremental changes to existing systems". SCOPE Phase II aimed to extend a new secret messaging system to thousands of terminals across the intelligence agencies, as well as the Home Office, SOCA, MoD and other departments.

The disclosure is made in the annual report of the Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC), the cross-party group of MPs that provides the main outside scrutiny of MI5, MI6 and GCHQ.

"We are doing really quite well on this more modest CLiC programme, which is not being run out of the Cabinet Office, it is being run out of SIS and GCHQ," John Scarlett, director general of MI6 for the period covered by the report, told the ISC.

The new programme will aim at first to connect HMRC to the SCOPE Phase I desktop, develop "STRAP3A messaging" - a secure email system - for seven departments by the end of the financial year, and pilot a shared work space for organised crime allowing SOCA, MI6 and GCHQ to collaborate.

"It is regrettable that this same practical and incremental approach was not adopted in the planning of the SCOPE programme," the ISC said, in criticism that will be heard loudest at the Cabinet Office, which has overall responsibility for government IT strategy.

The ISC report also reveals that Cabinet Office officials are still trying to recover the £24.4m paid to IBM for SCOPE Phase II, almost two years after they abandoned the project.

"We had hoped to include in this Report a detailed account of the Cabinet Office's decision to abandon Phase 2 of the SCOPE programme," the MPs said.

"However, the Committee is still investigating the circumstances surrounding the decision, and commercial and legal negotiations between the Cabinet Office and contractor [IBM] continue." ®

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

More from The Register

next story
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Sonos AXES support for Apple's iOS4 and 5
Want to use your iThing? You can't - it's too old
Stick a 4K in them: Super high-res TVs are DONE
4,000 pixels is niche now... Don't say we didn't warn you
Philip K Dick 'Nazi alternate reality' story to be made into TV series
Amazon Studios, Ridley Scott firm to produce The Man in the High Castle
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
Too many IT conferences to cover? MICROSOFT to the RESCUE!
Yet more word of cuts emerges from Redmond
Joe Average isn't worth $10 a year to Mark Zuckerberg
The Social Network deflates the PC resurgence with mobile-only usage prediction
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.