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Oh the irony: Government Digital Services can't pay staff because of tech problems

Helping to transform government to, to... er... There's a plan in place

Exclusive The UK's Government Digital Service – the Whitehall body responsible for transforming government IT – is having problems paying staff because of, er, technical issues.

In an internal email sent within GDS, and seen by The Register, the body said: "We are aware of a number of pay related issues currently within GDS."

Last month GDS switched over to a new payroll system, handled by the Cabinet Office's Shared Services Connected Limited company.

SSCL is a joint venture between the Cabinet Office and French outsourcer Sopra Steria, intended to shift departments' back office servers and ERP systems into privately owned shared services centres.

The email said GDS was engaging directly with SSCL "on a daily basis to resolve pay cases as quickly as possible." It said: "There is a plan in place that should provide a smoother experience for all in June."

One staffer got in touch to tell us that because of the system changeover, he did not receive his salary last month.

He said: "Whenever I ask what's going on, they just refer me to Shared Services, but the Shared Services email bounces messages, and the phone number is always either engaged or never answered. There's no sense of urgency at all from GDS, even though this has put many people under serious financial pressure."

He added: "The fact that now they can't even pay their staff properly shows how badly things have gone wrong.

"I have complained through my union, and apparently they are receiving multiple complaints about this every week. I don't know the full scale of it."

Last year spending watchdog the National Audit Office slammed the centres as having so far failed to prove "value for money".

As exclusively revealed by The Register, a number of departments have dropped out of the programme after finding the cost savings did not stack up. ®

Updated at 14.20 to add: A Cabinet Office spokesman contacted us to say: "It is our priority that staff are paid on time. The first payroll for our staff, via the single operating IT platform (SOP), will be at the end of June." ®

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