Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/12/16/pac_dft_mess/

DfT spends £81m to save £57m

Shared services move showed 'stupendous incompetence'

By John Oates

Posted in Government, 16th December 2008 10:17 GMT

A Department of Transport plan to save £57m by moving to shared services - using centralised facilities for some business functions like HR - has ended up costing £87m.

The system was examined by the National Audit Office in May which famously found the system barking orders at staff in German, failing to account for weekends when holiday requests were entered and failing to settle invoices.

This time it is that other watchdog the Public Accounts Committee which examined the project.

Edward Leigh, chairman of the Committee of Public Accounts, was impressed by the level of cluster-f#ckery. He said the project was implemented: "with stupendous incompetence. This is one of the worst cases of project management seen by this Committee".

He said the Department knew the project was working to a tough timetable but ploughed on regardless: "The result was lamentable." The senior managers responsible had not been properly held to account for the failure. The Committee noted that an efficiency drive designed to save £57m by 2015 was now likely to cost £81m.

The project was over optimistic in believing it could introduce shared services within a year and for all departments to be using the central functions by April 2008. In reality two departments began using shared services in April 2007 and by the time of writing only two out of seven departments and the central department are doing so.

The project was not properly specced, not put out to full competitive tender and suppliers not properly managed after that.

Users have no faith in the system and performance indicators show very poor performance - in some cases worse than the previous system provided.

The DVLA began building the systems themselves with support from IBM. ®