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The Register breaking news

MPs criticise NAO's efficiency scrutiny

Members of Parliament's Public Accounts Committee have shown a reluctance to accept a report on the progress of Whitehall's efficiency campaign. The National Audit Office's (NAO) acceptance of Efficiency Review calculations came under fire from MPs at a meeting of the Public Accounts Committee yesterday. Halfway into the three …
Kablenet, 28 Feb 2007
The Register breaking news

Her Majesty's £444m court IT system can't even add up fines

The Libra magistrates' courts case management system has contributed to the inability of HM Courts Service to produce basic financial information to support its accounts, according to a report from the National Audit Office (NAO). The courts service uses Libra, plus information produced by local police forces' IT systems, to …
The Register breaking news

NAO criticises Whitehall on consultants

A National Audit Office report says central government is not using consultants efficiently The report has possible implications for Whitehall's relationship with IT consultancies, which account for the largest share of its spending in the field. Titled Central government's use of consultants and published on 15 December 2006 …
Kablenet, 15 Dec 2006
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NAO gets loved up on gov IT

The National Audit Office (NAO) has broken with its tradition of testing the veracity of government activities with the publication of a report about some IT projects the government has managed successfully. Yes, you heard it right. There are, apparently, successful government IT projects. In its 23 year history the NAO has …
Mark Ballard, 17 Nov 2006
The Register breaking news

UK tax fraud IT project 'missed virtually every delivery date'

IT projects that formed part of Revenue and Customs' (HMRC) compliance and enforcement programme missed key delivery milestones and failed to bring the expected recovery of tax, according to a report by the National Audit Office. The compliance and enforcement programme was implemented between 2006 and 2011 with the aim of …
The Register breaking news

e-Govt not solving ‘digital divide’, says NAO

The UK Government needs to do more to prevent the "digital divide" widening still further, according to the National Audit Office (NAO). In particular, it warns that older people could be left behind as the Government presses ahead with plans to wire up government services and departments. A report, due to be presented to MPs …
Tim Richardson, 20 Feb 2003
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BBC lied to Parliament about doomed £100m IT monster, thunder MPs

The BBC lied to Parliament by giving MPs and auditors glowing progress reports on a £100m computer project that embarrassingly flopped, it is claimed. The project in question, the "strategic" Digital Media Initiative (DMI), has now been abandoned at a cost of at least nine figures; a rapid decision by the new BBC Director- …
Andrew Orlowski, 12 Jun 2013
The Register breaking news

Ofcom fails comms test

A report by the National Audit Office found Ofcom could be providing value for money, but could do a better job of actually demonstrating what it is doing. The NAO believes Ofcom is doing more with less and has saved about £23m over the last five years since it was formed. It spends about £122m a year - which is 27 per cent less …
John Oates, 10 Nov 2010
The Register breaking news

MPs brand BlackBerrys for bobbies scheme a failure

Splurging £71m on BlackBerrys for bobbies on the beat was an almost total waste of money, according to a report from MPs. The Public Accounts Committee said today that the scheme was supposed to reduce paperwork, so coppers could be out and about more and save the force £125m. Instead, the programme only saved a paltry £600,000 …
The Register breaking news

Stop this energy smart meter 'fiasco', UK.gov urged

So-called 'smart meters' are under renewed attack – this time from MPs and Which? magazine, which has recommended a halt to the programme. Later in the week the Public Accounts Committee is expected to be critical of the ambitious scheme, which comes at a high (£11bn+) cost to consumers, and which critics say is based on shaky …
Andrew Orlowski, 16 Jan 2012
By Emilio Labrador - licensed under Creative Commons

MPs slam bumpkin fibre rollout, demand halt to further £250m cash spaff

Whitehall has insisted that its delayed multimillion-pound rural broadband project represents good value for taxpayers - even as a brutal parliamentary report published today attacks the government for failing to rein in BT. MPs on Parliament's Public Accounts Committee (PAC), chaired by Labour politico Margaret Hodge, submitted …
Kelly Fiveash, 26 Sep 2013
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'Special relationship': Oracle bags UK.gov contract renewal

Database giant Oracle has bagged a renewed contract to supply its technology to Whitehall in a deal that the Cabinet Office claimed would save £75m for taxpayers by 2015. The California multinational is one of the biggest provider's to government, Francis Maude's department said when announcing the agreement this morning. It …
The Register breaking news

Gov departments need better data systems, NAO says

The National Audit Office wants improvements in the data systems used to measure performance across Whitehall Many government departments need to improve the data systems they use to report progress in meeting official targets, finance watchdog the National Audit Office has said in its latest validation report. It found that …
Kablenet, 21 Dec 2007
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DWP's Work Programme IT already broken at launch

The IT underpinning the Department for Work and Pensions' (DWP) Work Programme was not fully functional when the scheme was launched and some of its key functionality is still not available, according to a National Audit Office (NAO) report. The Work Programme, introduced in 2011, was intended to replace almost all welfare to …
The Register breaking news

Auditor declares FiReControl a 'comprehensive failure'

The project to create nine regional control centres for fire and rescue linked by a new IT system has been a comprehensive failure, according to the National Audit Office (NAO). A newly published report from the government auditor, "The failure of the FiReControl project", says the scheme was fatally flawed because the …
The Register breaking news

Open Data Institute pours golden £10m shower on upstarts

The Open Data Institute has launched with a taxpayer-funded £10m pot to turn the government’s public information dumps into something tangible. Or that's the promise. Based at Silicon Roundabout in London’s Shoreditch, the group is headed by web daddy Tim Berners-Lee and artificial intelligence professor Nigel Shadbolt. The …
Gavin Clarke, 23 May 2012
The Register breaking news

Intel invests in 'personal robot' future

Intel Capital has made its first-ever investment in robotics, becoming the lead investor in a $13m funding round for Aldebaran Robotics, a Paris-based designer of humanoid robots. "This investment from Intel Capital enables Aldebaran to become a key player in this nascent industry," Aldebaran founder and CEO Bruno Maisonnier …
Rik Myslewski, 09 Jun 2011
The Register breaking news

Universal Credit dole 'liable to be paralysed by IT cockups'

Benefit claimants could end up with nothing if the IT system for the new Universal Credit falls over or if they're just not that web-savvy, a report claims. The Universal Credit (UC) system is due to start replacing a whole bunch of government benefits for Brits from this time next year, but there's concerns that the superfast …
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National Audit Office: Open data the key to 'big society'

Parliament's finance watchdog has said that stronger information strategies and more transparent government data will be key to the 'big society' agenda. The delivery of public services by charities, voluntary groups and social enterprises will require a "step change" from earlier attempts to open up government, such as the …
The Register breaking news

Student loan system failure could happen again

An investigation into the failure of the Student Loan Company to properly process applications has revealed the disaster could be repeated later this year. Spending watchdog the National Audit Office said that failures of oversight from the company's board, and from Mandelson's Department for Business, Innovation and Skills …
John Oates, 19 Mar 2010
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Poor IT contributes to DWP errors

The Department for Work and Pensions is hampered by out of date IT in tackling benefit fraud and error, says the National Audit Office. The spending watchdog's report on minimising the cost of administrative error in the benefit system, published on 25 November, says the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has 140 core …
Kable, 25 Nov 2010
The Register breaking news

IT delays cost HMRC £33m

The National Audit Office (NAO) says that delays to a single tax and pensions system cost HM Revenue and Customs £33m in procurement costs. In a report (pdf) published on 20 July 2010, the accounting watchdog says that difficulties with the National Insurance and PAYE Service system led to it being deferred twice before it was …
Kable, 21 Jul 2010
The Register breaking news

Vodafone's small, controversial tax bill validated by UK.gov

The National Audit Office, asked to look into Vodafone's negotiated tax bill of £1.25bn, has decided it was a reasonable deal considering the cost of taking legal action against the company. Back in 2010 Vodafone was accused of owing £6bn in tax, and the company had reserved £2.2bn to meet it's UK tax obligations, but George …
Bill Ray, 15 Jun 2012
The Register breaking news

Global warming will not cause 'permanent El Niño'

Boffins in Blighty have said that global warming and retreating Arctic sea ice cover is unlikely to result in a so-called "permanent El Niño" state in the Pacific, nor cause similar major weather-changing shifts in the behaviour of the Atlantic ocean. The possibility of such major changes in the world's weather has been …
Lewis Page, 14 Feb 2011
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UK.gov spunked £153m on reorganisation IT

The National Audit Office says that nearly 20 per cent of the £780m spent on central government reorganisations over the last four years has gone on IT. Nearly half of departments reported that IT purchasing had a high or moderate cost impact on their reorganisation process and 45 per cent said the same about website development …
Kable, 19 Mar 2010
The Register breaking news

MoD plans 'name and shame' crackdown on crap projects

UK Defence secretary Liam Fox has pledged to crack down hard on poorly performing defence procurement projects, by "naming and shaming" them on a quarterly published list. Announcing the commencement of operations by the new Major Projects Review Board, which he will chair, Dr Fox said: "I want to send a clear message across …
Lewis Page, 15 Jun 2011
Bond on train Patrice Skyfall

Mobile tech destroys the case for the HS2 £multi-beellion train set

Finally people seem to be waking up to the dog's breakfast which is the economic case for the proposed High Speed Two London-Birmingham rail link. You know, this lovely train set that the politicians want to plonk down in the middle of England. I've never quite been sure why it is that politicians love such train sets: most of …
Tim Worstall, 16 May 2013
The Register breaking news

MPs: This plan for proper navy carriers and jets is crazy!

Today sees the release of two new reports into the UK's plans for its future aircraft carriers and their aircraft. As is common practice, a National Audit Office document is accompanied by one from the MPs of the Commons Public Accounts Committee. Builders' concept art of the CATOBAR variant carrier for the UK. Credit: Aircraft …
Lewis Page, 29 Nov 2011
The Register breaking news

Auditors slam MoD over failure to keep track of radios

Government auditors have accused military planners of running wasteful and inefficient systems that have cost taxpayers millions. A report from the National Audit Office said the Ministry of Defence was unable to account for £155m earmarked for a radio communications system for British troop in Afghanistan. MoD officials told …
John Leyden, 21 Jul 2009

US delays Royal Navy satellite comms project

A Royal Navy communications project is 31 months late because development of components at the US Department of Defense is behind schedule. A National Audit Office (NAO) report on major Ministry of Defence (MoD) projects says the Naval Extremely High Frequency/Super High Frequency Satellite Communications Terminals programme …
Kablenet, 18 Dec 2008
The Register breaking news

Robot footballers 'will beat Human Race first eleven by 2050'

A top Australian computing boffin, analysing the state of play in today's RoboCup droid football leagues, says that robotic footballers will be able to beat the best human players in the world by 2050. The Aldebaran Nao robot. Credit: Aldebaran Rumours of unsavoury off-pitch antics with pleasure units are completely unfounded …
Lewis Page, 14 Sep 2010
The Register breaking news

Blighty's expensive Watchkeeper spy-drone in further delays

The troubled, extremely expensive Watchkeeper project intended to supply unmanned surveillance aircraft to the Royal Artillery has hit further technical delays. The first robot spyplanes should have been delivered in February - eight months later than the original contract called for - but they will now arrive "toward year's end …
Lewis Page, 02 Mar 2011
The Register breaking news

E-government is working for DVLA

A report from the National Audit Office (NAO) on the use of technology by UK vehicle licensing agencies has found that rare beast - a working government IT project. It's worth noting though that data security was not part of the government spending watchdog's brief this time. The NAO looked at six services from three agencies …
John Oates, 16 Jan 2008
The Register breaking news

BBC's uber-project is a loss-bleeder

The BBC's ten-year long Digital Media Initiative has already fallen tens of million of pounds short of achieving cost saving, a study by the National Audit Office for the BBC Trust has found. Described as a "technology transformation project" the DMI is intended to achieve efficiencies and "prepare us for an on-demand digital …
Andrew Orlowski, 02 Feb 2011
The Register breaking news

Eurofighter Typhoon: It's EVEN WORSE than we thought

Yesterday the UK National Audit Office published a detailed report on the current status of the infamous Eurofighter combat jet – nowadays officially known as Typhoon. We here on the Reg defence desk have always had a low opinion of the cripplingly expensive, marginally useful fighter: but even we were amazed by the new facts …
Lewis Page, 03 Mar 2011
homeless man with sign

Credit crunch hits school rebuilding programme

The National Audit Office says councils are struggling to borrow money under the Private Finance Initiative to build schools fitted with new ICT In a report on Building Schools for the Future (BSF), the programme to rebuild secondary schools and equip them with the latest technology, the NAO says that during 2008 problems in the …
Kablenet, 13 Feb 2009
The Register breaking news

NHS IT four years late and over budget

The NHS IT project, one of the world's largest public sector IT programmes, is already four years late. Parts of the project are progressing well and some savings have already been seen but Summary Care Records, a key part of the project, are now unlikely to be widely rolled out until 2014 or 2015, rather than the original …
John Oates, 16 May 2008
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UK gov should move into PC reseller biz, says report

The government could become one of the UK’s biggest resellers of used IT kit if recommendations in a National Audit Office report are taken to their logical conclusion. The spending watchdog paints a worrying picture of the public sector’s current approach to disposing of old kit. It found a lack of awareness of environmental …
Joe Fay, 31 Jul 2007
The Register breaking news

Failed probation system 'masterclass in sloppy management'

The failure of the project to provide a single offender management system for UK prisons and the probation service was the fault of senior civil servants who had failed to learn even the first lessons of project management. The drastically downsized project is currently three years late and twice over budget. This failure was …
John Oates, 12 Mar 2009
The Register breaking news

IT tackles benefit cheats

Technology is helping catch benefits cheats but there are doubts about a key case management system, according to a new report by the National Audit Office (NAO) In Progress in tackling benefit fraud, the NAO praises the government's record in reducing fraud from an estimated £2bn in 2000-01 to £800m in 2006-07. The significant …
Kablenet, 23 Jan 2008
The Register breaking news

Boffins teach football bots how to fall

Boffins are teaching football-playing robots how to fall properly. Traditional approaches to robotics have focused on keeping mechanical machines upright and balanced. But in the context of playing football on an uneven surface and with interaction with other robot players, that's an unrealistic goal. Robotic experts in Chile …
John Leyden, 22 May 2009
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Pressure mounts on NHS IT

MPs are queueing up to have a go at the multi-billion pound NHS National Programme for IT, racked as it is with problems. The House of Commons Health Committee has suggested it might comply with the demands of a group of 23 leading academics and investigate the need for an independent audit of the technical feasibility of the …
Team Register, 30 May 2006
The Register breaking news

DHS reckons US cops' access to sat-surveillance is go

US Homeland Security overlord Michael Chertoff has told reporters that he believes plans for increased use of satellite surveillance by American law-enforcement agencies are ready to move forward. However, Democratic politicians remain unconvinced that adequate privacy and civil liberties safeguards are in place. "I think the …
Lewis Page, 03 Apr 2008
The Register breaking news

Costs go sky high at MoD

Skynet 5 and other military equipment projects are running a total of £2.6bn over budget, a report from the official spending watchdog reveals. Restructuring of Skynet 5, the Ministry of Defence PFI project to develop the next generation of military satellite communication services, will cost an extra £885m, says the National …
Kablenet, 27 Nov 2006
The Register breaking news

Audit bodies should merge, report says

A think tank has urged the government to merge the Audit Commission and National Audit Office (NAO). A new report from the New Local Government Network (NLGN), Expecting more from Inspectors?, calls on the government to create a super audit agency under the banner of Audit UK. It says this would provide cashable savings of about …
Kablenet, 29 Nov 2007
The Register breaking news

DWP loses £2.5bn to fraud and errors

About £2.5bn was lost to fraud and error in benefit payments over the last year, according to the National Audit Office (NAO). The figure is down from £2.7bn over the Department for Work and Pensions' (DWP) previous financial year, but was still deemed too high for the NAO. Consequently, the watchdog refused to sign off the …
Kablenet, 26 Jul 2007
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PAC slams government's 'cosy' relationship with IT suppliers

Parliament's Public Accounts Committee has said that Whitehall departments are not routinely checking value for money and applying financial penalties for poor performance. In a report on central government's management of service contracts, the committee says that although most departments monitor the performance of IT …
Kablenet, 28 Apr 2009
The Register breaking news

Poor data handling keeps prisoners inside

The National Audit Office says the work of the Parole Board is hampered by the lack of timely information from other parts of the criminal justice system. Prisoners who may be eligible for parole are having their case hearings delayed because of poor information handling by the criminal justice system. One of the most common …
Kablenet, 05 Mar 2008
The Register breaking news

Cash woes hold back National Insurance IT improvements

A National Audit Office report says that limited money for IT is hampering improvements to the administration of National Insurance. The report, published on 30 June, says that HM Revenue and Customs' Contributions Office, which maintains personal records on the National Insurance (NI) database, would like to make significant …
Kable, 30 Jun 2010
The Register breaking news

EDS carpeted for struggling prison project

The Ministry of Justice has hauled in EDS for what promises to be a lively discussion about the future of the prisoner record programme. The National Offender Management Information Service (NOMIS) was meant to provide a central database for offender records to link prisons and the probation service. Offenders would have one …
John Oates, 05 Dec 2008