Feeds

Philip Green discovers ugly truth of government incompetence

Gravy train contains actual gravy

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Sir Philip Green's review of government procurement has uncovered the type of incompetence, waste and over-charging that will be familiar to anyone who has ever read an account of any government IT project.

To begin with, he struggled to get any decent information out of central government - which in itself reduces its ability to procure anything properly.

Shopkeeper Green was first told that central government spends £2bn on travel each year. Then he was told it spent £500m - lastly, he was told £768m.

A review of the figures found they were all wrong and central government actually spent £551m. Green said he was unable to ascertain how much was spent on travel outside central departments.

Different departments pay vastly different amounts for the same supplies - printing paper varies from £8 to £73 per box, printer cartridges range from £86 each to £398.

Central government departments spend £61m a year on laptop and desktop computers, and often do not buy direct from manufacturers. The money goes 13 different suppliers who maintain an estate of 460,000 desktops and 60,000 laptops. Prices range from £353 to £2,000 for laptops.

Green referred to an IT services contract costing more than £100m a year with six years remaining. He notes that the majority of the work, for hardware and software development, is sub-contracted to another firm, so the government is paying for two profit margins. Charges are more than £1,000 per person per day, much more than market rates.

Green said: "It is a poor quality contract with no provision in the contract to reduce the annual amount payable should the development work not be required."

Another bundle of IT services contracts with one supplier with three years to run are worth more than £300m a year. Green said contract details, terms, rate cards and other prices are different across departments and costs are "significantly greater than they should be".

Fixed line telecoms are estimated to cost £2bn a year and are all negotiated separately - Green reckons savings of 30 to 40 per cent are possible if the government bought its own capacity centrally.

Mobile phones are another depressing example - total spending is £21m on 105,000 devices, with 98 per cent of the money going to one supplier. However, the government does not have one contract but 68 separate contracts, all negotiated by different departments and all ending on different days.

You can dowload the report from here (pdf). ®

Security for virtualized datacentres

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
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.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
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.