Tories to cut IT to keep National Insurance down
Down with this sort of thing
The shadow chancellor today announced cuts in large IT programmes would form part of a £6bn public spending squeeze under a Tory government, that would be used to cancel most of a rise in national insurance planned for next year by Labour.
Under the plan to slash "without reducing the quality of front line services", George Osborne announced:
- New IT projects would be shelved
- Ongoing project would be cancelled if they were not delivering value
- Supplier contracts would be renegotiated
- Discretionary spending on IT services would be cut
But he was unable to cite specific projects, as opposition parties are not allowed to inspect government contracts.
Despite this, the Conservatives have already pledged to scrap ID Cards and the National Identity Register, as well as ContactPoint, the national database of children's details, which is up and running.
They have also promised to review the forthcoming Interception Modernisation Programme, which the Home Office has estimated at £2bn over ten years. The security establishment would be very resistant to any cut to the project, however.
Meanwhile cuts to the £12bn National Programme for IT, one of the world's largest public IT projects, would not return to the Treasury, as the Tories plan to ringfence the NHS budget.
The government immediately critised the announcement as lacking substance.
"George Osborne's savings are so flaky, he's admitted he doesn't even know which department is going to pay what," the Times reports a spokeswoman for Alistair Darling said.
Osbornes's plan is based on recommendations from Sir Peter Gershon and Dr Martin Read. Gershon is a former head of the Office of Government Commerce, and Read the former chief executive of LogicaCMG.®
There's your problem, right there
"opposition parties are not allowed to inspect government contracts."
And neither is anyone else - "Commercial, In Confidence" is always cited. Now, if two commercial organisations want to enter into a contract and keep the details secret, that's fair enough (probably, though I could argue a case against) - it's their (shareholders') money, after all. But if our civil servants enter into a contract, then IT'S OUR FSCKING MONEY and the details damn well ought to be public.
Given the amount of gravy that's usually attached to such contracts, I can't imagine many of the usual suspects saying "well we won't bid then, if that's your attitude". And the one's that won't play ball are probably the ones we can well do without.
Public scrutiny of these contracts should be our right as taxpayers. Though I can't be held responsible for the number of heart attacks that would probably result if all the details were ever to be aired.
Far too much taxpayers money gets squandered into the back pockets of the big consultancy firms charging ridiculous daily rates for useless consultants. Boo fucking hoo.
Naive or what?
I agree with the sentiment - too much valuable tax payer dinero being tipped into troughs for the consult-o-pigs to feast on.
Unfortunately, you missed the key phrase - "Ongoing project would be cancelled if they were not delivering value". But, how do they decide if a project wasn't "delivering value"? Yes, that's right - they bring in some hideously expensive external consulting _team_ to "evaluate" it.
So instead of money being spent on delivering the "product" it gets pi--ed away doing "studies". Worse still, the project team'll get stopped while their project is "in review".
I saw this happen with Major's government and defence research - at the end of the day they ended up with a far more expensive arrangement delivering worse quality research with more admin required. But at least a lot of chinless ones made a very tidy pile of cash.
Good luck on the contract renegotiations btw - I'm willing to bet that the companies concerned have made sure that the i's are dotted and t's crossed. But if these negotiations are ahead of renewal time then I suppose it's another opportunity to waste money whilst appearing to be working hard.
Sorry, I'm just in a very cynical mood this morning...