Articles about National Audit Office

UK border control at Heathrow. Photo by 1000 words/Shutterstock editorial use only

Paper mountain, hidden Brexit: How'd you say immigration control would work?

At some point in the next few years we will be in a post-Brexit world, and the UK will have regained complete control of its borders. Or maybe not. At this juncture, it's worth taking a long hard look at how that might work. Spoiler: it won't. And that's because of two things, law and logistics. Those immediately affected by …
John Lettice, 22 Aug 2016
Man exasperated after being on hold for a long period of time. Photo by Shutterstock

HMRC: We've got £1.3bn for digital tax schemes. Tell us how to spend it

HMRC is casting around for ideas on how to splash £1.3bn in order to become the most "digitally advanced" tax administration in the world. Last year the body was awarded £1.3bn of digital investment over the next four years, which it said would yield £1bn in extra tax revenue after 2020 by ending "bureaucratic form-filling". …
Kat Hall, 15 Aug 2016

BBC detector vans are back to spy on your home Wi-Fi – if you can believe it

Updated The BBC's creepy detector vans will be dragged into the 21st century to sniff Brits' home Wi-Fi networks, claims the UK Daily Telegraph's Saturday splash. From September 1, you'll need a telly licence if you stream catch-up or on-demand TV from the BBC's iPlayer service, regardless if you've got a television set or not – phone …
Chris Williams, 06 Aug 2016
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MPs reiterate risks of mega £10bn Aspire contract overhaul

UK MPs have warned that HMRC (HM Revenues and Customs) may struggle to overhaul its expensive £10bn IT systems with Capgemini, and that further cuts could ultimately waste more taxpayers' cash. The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) report published today said the body remains concerned that HMRC may struggle to integrate …
Kat Hall, 27 Jul 2016
HMRC photo, Gov.uk

Guess who gets hit hard by IR35 tax clampdown? Yep, IT contractors

IT contractors in Blighty could bear the brunt of UK government plans to clamp down on self-employed workers not paying the correct employment taxes - with HMRC targeting 20,000 public sector contractors. The taxman is currently consulting on whether to shift responsibility for compliance with the intermediaries legislation, …
Kat Hall, 22 Jul 2016

Top IT bod Sally Howes leaves the UK's National Audit Office

Sally Howes, the executive lead at the UK National Audit Office responsible for working with departments on their IT programmes, has stepped down after six years in the role. Howes joined the NAO in 2010 as a director, and was appointed executive leader with responsibility for digital and innovation in 2013. She also oversaw …
Kat Hall, 19 Jul 2016
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Student Loans Company burns £50 million in IT project superfail

Exclusive The UK's Student Loans Company has wasted £50m on a canned IT transformation project, designed to provide a “digital by default” system to cope with a major increase in student numbers. The programme was launched in 2013 in conjunction with the Government Digital Service and was intended to be a "robust and agile customer- …
Kat Hall, 13 Jul 2016
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£8 BILLION is locked into UK.gov's failing IT schemes, El Reg analysis reveals

The UK government has £8bn locked into IT contracts which are at high risk of failure, according to an analysis of the Infrastructure Project Authority's accounts by The Register. Of 143 major projects representing £405bn of government spending, The Register identified 19 IT projects that were flagged as “red” or “amber/red” …
Kat Hall, 07 Jul 2016

Crown Commercial Services is to slap SMEs with price hikes

Government procurement body the Crown Commercial Service is to start hiking up the amount it charges suppliers to sell stuff to the public sector. CCS already pockets fees from government frameworks – last year taking a cut of £72m from the £15bn total managed spend it facilitated. However, it will now more heavily rely on …
Kat Hall, 04 Jul 2016

Michael Gove says Britain needs to create its own DARPA

Alasdair Gray, the acclaimed Glaswegian writer and artist, penned a phrase now engraved on a wall of the Scottish Parliament: “Work as if you live in the early days of a better nation.” Michael Gove, the controversial Caledonian Brexiteer, journalist and Conservative politician, has in turn declared his intention to seek the …
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PAC slams UK.gov for lack of evidence-based science investments

The Public Accounts Committee has advised the UK government to take a more evidence-based approach when deciding spending on science projects, according to a report published today. The report comes at a time when the future of science funding hangs in the balance after the UK voted to leave the European Union. The EU gives …
Katyanna Quach, 29 Jun 2016
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Wanted: New cloudy head for UK.gov. 37 hour week, £90k salary

The UK government is hiring a Digital Marketplace director who will pocket £90,000 a year with a budget of £3.9m to lead a team of 38 digi procurement bods. The Digital Marketplace is intended to be provide an online portal for various digital government procurement departments to buy new code. The director will also be …
Kat Hall, 22 Jun 2016
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UK.gov's promise to pour cash into SMEs was just hot air

Analysis Every government has always claimed to be the friend of SMEs – and with 5.2 million of them in the UK it makes an easy vote winner. But promising to do more business with smaller providers and handing over cold, hard cash are two very different things. Earlier this month the National Audit Office reported that what little …
Kat Hall, 31 May 2016
Doctor Who, Season 9 – Heaven Sent. Pic credit: BBC

BBC post-Savile culture change means staff can 'speak truth to power'

In the post-Savile BBC era staff won't be punished for "speaking truth to power" – one of the main issues behind the canned £126m Digital Media Initiative, director general of the BBC Tony Hall told MPs. Appearing in front of a Parliamentary select committee on the BBC’s critical projects, Hall said: "One of the things that …
Kat Hall, 26 May 2016
Man exasperated after being on hold for a long period of time. Photo by Shutterstock

Geniuses at HMRC sack too many staff! Nope, can't do it online. FAIL

HMRC was too hasty to cut staff before expected cost savings from a shift to digital materialised – something that should act as a cautionary tale for its current "digitisation" plans, the National Audit Office has warned. Between 2010/11 and 2014/15, HMRC cut staff in its personal tax department from 26,000 to 15,000. But …
Kat Hall, 25 May 2016
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Business dept sinks £14m into canned shared services plan

The department for Business, Innovation and Skills has sunk £14m in consolidating its legacy kit as part of a cross-government shared services plan that it later pulled out of. According to an FOI response, BIS invested £13.9m during the first phase of consolidating back office services for the department and 13 public bodies …
Kat Hall, 23 May 2016
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Shared services centres supposed to save £128m saved £0... and cost £4m

Moves to shift departments' back office servers and ERP systems into two privately owned shared services centres - which had been touted as set to save the taxpayer £128m - have failed to prove "value for money", according to a report by the National Audit Office. The shared services centres, run separately by IT provider …
Kat Hall, 20 May 2016

Remember when gov.uk said it would give big biz contracts to SMEs?

The Cabinet Office has lost its enthusiasm for prising open Whitehall's wallet and handing more cash to SMEs, according to a report by the Committee of Public Accounts today. Back in 2010, the government pledged to carve off 25 per cent of its £45bn spend in goods and services to small businesses. But today the committee said …
Kat Hall, 18 May 2016
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Gov to pull plug on online ID verification portal Gateway in 2018

A date has been set to formally decommission the government's online identity Gateway portal by 2018 - a move that raises serious questions as to whether the Verify replacement will provide a fit for purpose alternative. The deal to pull the plug on Gateway - which is most importantly used for self-assessment tax users - has …
Kat Hall, 13 May 2016
Peter Capaldi as Dr Who. Credit: BBC

At the BBC, Agile means 'making it up as we go along'

A £75m “Agile” BBC IT project has evaded scrutiny because managers could make up the benefits as they went along, according to the spending watchdog the National Audit Office. Any likelihood of the project achieving savings is now officially rated as “in doubt” by the BBC’s own project monitoring. Since the costly failure of …
Andrew Orlowski, 10 May 2016

UK.gov wasted £20m telling you to 'be safe online, mmkay'

The UK wasted £20m on raising awareness about cybercrime, a study has shown, as the public still knows almost nothing about protecting itself online. Research published by YouGov and CSID has shown that in spite of the National Audit Office reporting that £20m had been allocated by government in financial year 2014/15 "to …
whitehall road in London. <a href="http://www.shutterstock.com/gallery-637816p1.html?cr=00&pl=edit-00">Albert Pego</a> / <a href="http://www.shutterstock.com/editorial?cr=00&pl=edit-00">Shutterstock.com</a>

Central gov spent £6.3bn on IT. Nearly half handed to just 3 suppliers

Central government splashed £6.3bn with IT suppliers for the year 2014/15 – with 42 per cent going to just three suppliers, according to government data shared with The Register. Sixty-five per cent of the total figure was hoovered up by 10 suppliers, with HP coming top at £1.2bn, followed by Capgemini at £861m, and BT at £ …
Kat Hall, 29 Apr 2016

Why we should learn to stop worrying and love legacy – Fujitsu's UK head

Interview In the UK, IT Godzilla Fujitsu is perhaps best known for its unwieldy public sector contracts, being responsible for running a sizeable chunk of the government's legacy technology. Indeed most of its UK and Ireland revenue has historically come from the public sector, some 70 per cent at the beginning of the last Parliament in …
Kat Hall, 15 Apr 2016
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Carving up the IT contract behind £500bn of annual tax collection is a very risky move

Analysis The thankless nature of IT service provision is often demonstrated by the fact users only tend to notice it when it goes wrong: if there's no screaming, then it's working fine. In that respect, at least, HM Revenue and Customs' £10bn IT contract with Capgemini and Fujitsu has been a success. Particularly if one considers the …
Kat Hall, 04 Apr 2016

Closing courts to fling £700m at digital stand-ins will fail, MPs snarl at UK.gov

MPs from across the political spectrum have attacked the government's plan to close a further 86 courts while investing £700m in a court “digitisation” plan which has been flagged as “high risk”. During the last Parliament the government closed 146 courts. It now has plans to close a further 86 courts and tribunals across …
Kat Hall, 29 Mar 2016
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Gov to take axe to big IT contracts soon, will hand chunks to SMEs

Chief executive of the civil service, John Manzoni, has promised the government will start chopping up its big IT contracts in the next year and kick its dependency on just a handful of suppliers. Amyas Morse, auditor general at the National Audit Office, told the Public Accounts Committee yesterday that 51 per cent of …
Kat Hall, 22 Mar 2016
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UK.gov's Major Projects Authority ain't saving us any money, say MPs

MPs have said they are disappointed in the lack of evidence that the Major Projects Authority has reduced UK.gov's poor track record in delivering big programmes, according to a report released today. The MPA oversees 149 projects, which have a combined lifetime cost of £511bn – many of which include a large element of IT such …
Kat Hall, 18 Mar 2016
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NAO slates UK.gov's 'haphazard' sci-tech money-chuck plan

The National Audit Office has criticised the haphazard approach of the department for Business, Innovation and Skills in how it invests its multi-billion funds in big science projects, such as supercomputers. BIS has overall control of the government's expenditure on science, technology and engineering. The department is to …
Kat Hall, 10 Mar 2016
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Audit Office pours cold water on UK.gov's SME spending target claims

Claims the government beat its target to pump more than 25 per cent of its largesse through SMEs in the last Parliament have today been critiqued by the National Audit Office, which says "it cannot be certain" spending increased at all over that period. In February 2015, the government reported that it had met its 2010 SME …
Kat Hall, 09 Mar 2016
Amazon box tipped over, propped against doorframe. Photo by Jeramey Lende via Shutterstock

Buying gov.UK kit via price-comparison digital portal could 'save £10bn'

The government could save up to £10bn per year if it were to create an "Amazon-like" procurement portal for all its purchases, similar to the underused G-Cloud, according to a think tank report. Amazon box tipped over, propped against doorframe.Photo by Jeramey Lende via Shutterstock Er, ID Smith? Your server arrived! Upside …
Kat Hall, 07 Mar 2016

Ofcom should be the BBC's ultimate overlord, UK.gov told

Telcomms regulator Ofcom should also regulate the BBC, a review for the Ministry of Fun has found. An independent review into the governance and regulation of BBC governance by Sir David Clementi, commissioned by DCMS, reported back yesterday. Astonishingly, Clementi came up with the result that the government had wanted in …
Andrew Orlowski, 02 Mar 2016

Flinging £700m at courts' IT won't increase efficiency, says NAO

An ambitious plan to modernise Blighty's criminal justice system via a £700m digitisation programme will not cure its increasing inefficiencies, a government spending watchdog report has found. According to a report by the National Audit Office today, the £2bn annual spend on the justice system is "not currently delivering …
Kat Hall, 01 Mar 2016
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UK govt right to outsource everything 15 years ago – civil service boss

The chief executive of the civil service, John Manzoni, has defended the government's decision to outsource everything 15 years ago, telling MPs it was "what everyone did at the time". Speaking at a Public Accounts Committee hearing yesterday, Manzoni said there was nothing wrong with outsourcing, but the government must now …
Kat Hall, 02 Feb 2016
Grinning man in suit points at a calculator meaningfully. Pic via Shutterstock

Europe: Go on. Ask us to probe the £130m 'sweetheart' deal HMRC made with Google

The EU's Competition Commissioner has said Europe would probe Google's £130m sweetheart deal with the UK government "if asked" - following growing calls for Brussels to scrutinise the deal. The Scottish Nationalist Party has today written to Brussels to investigate the arrangement. Stewart Hosie MP said: "The truth is that we …
Kat Hall, 28 Jan 2016
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Google and HMRC face Parliamentary grilling over £130m tax deal

British politicians will tackle Google parent Alphabet Inc and the taxman over an official £130m back tax settlement. Both the US ad-flinger and HM Revenue and Customs are to be hauled before Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC), Labour MP Meg Hillier has tweeted. Bet individual taxpayers wouldn't get off as lightly …
Gavin Clarke, 25 Jan 2016
Iain Duncan Smith. Pic: Foreign & Commonwealth Office

Three-years-late fit-to-work IT tool will cost taxpayers £76m

A delayed IT system developed by the Department for Work and Pensions for its controversial benefits assessment contracts has cost the taxpayer £76m due to benefits assessments having to be done manually, according to a report by the National Audit Office. Outsourcers Capita, Maximus and Atos were awarded the deal for …
Kat Hall, 08 Jan 2016

A third of UK.gov big projects will fail in next five years, warns NAO

Blighty's spending watchdog has warned that one third of the government's major projects due to be delivered over the next five years are on track to fail. The National Audit Office said, in its progress report on major government projects, that 37 out of the 106 projects due to finish by 2021 are "in doubt or unachievable if …
Kat Hall, 06 Jan 2016
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Assessing the UK’s Government Digital Service

The Year in Review For the Government Digital Service, 2015 has been a year of challenge and uncertainty. Many issues have dogged the body, but some of the most high profile included the £215m IT fiasco for farmers' rural payment allowances and the departure of Mike Bracken, the man whose name has become synonymous with the body, amid rumours that …
Kat Hall, 27 Dec 2015
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MPs question value of canning Raytheon from e-borders

MPs have questioned the value of terminating the Home Office's £500m e-borders contract with its supplier Raytheon, with questions remaining as to whether the £303m spent on its in-house successor programme will deliver. In March the Home Office finally agreed to hand over £150m to defence company Raytheon over the dispute …
Kat Hall, 17 Dec 2015

HMRC bets the farm on digital. What could possibly go wrong?

Comment HMRC has promised to throw £1.3bn at its creaking IT to transform itself into the most "digitally advanced" tax administration in the world. By doing so, it also hopes to save significant piles of cash and offset major cuts. But for many, this whole venture represents a major gamble. To much fanfare the department announced …
Kat Hall, 15 Dec 2015
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MPs slam gov heads over 'childishness' on failed farmer IT project

Senior UK government officials were hauled in front of MPs yesterday to defend their deeply "dysfunctional" and "childish" behaviour, which contributed to the botched £215m Common Agricultural Policy IT system, and up to £180m in EU fines. Government Chief Technology Officer Liam Maxwell from the Government Digital Service, …
Kat Hall, 10 Dec 2015

NAO slams £830m e-Borders IT project as ‘not value for money’

The UK government's spending watchdog has slammed the £830m, 12-year e-Borders project – intended to collect details from passenger lists of all people entering and leaving the UK – as having failed to deliver value for money. “The e-Borders programme began in 2003, with an ambition which has remained largely unchanged in the …
Kat Hall, 03 Dec 2015
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UK will pay EU £180m in fines due to botched CAP IT system – NAO

The UK may have to pay Europe up to £180m per year in fines due to the botched implementation of the 'digital by default' IT system for farmers' Common Agricultural Payments - the National Audit Office has said today. In March this year plans to make the system online-only were scrapped following the failure of the online …
Kat Hall, 01 Dec 2015
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Former nbn CEO Mike Quigley ends his silence, unloads on government

The former CEO of Australia's NBN Co, the entity responsible for building and operating Australia's national broadband network (NBN), Mike Quigley, has hit back at two years of being blamed by two prime ministers for the troubles that beset the project's multi-technology mix model (MTM) mandated in 2013. In particular, Quigley …

Government Gateway online hack claims 'nonsense', say multiple folk in the know

Claims the Government Gateway online identity portal has been "hacked" have been dismissed as "nonsense" by the man originally responsible for the project and by two government information security experts. Earlier this week the Financial Times (behind paywall) reported that “tens of thousands” of Britons’ identities were …
Kat Hall, 29 Oct 2015
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So, GDS saved Brits £1.7bn through 'digital transformation'. Sure about that?

Analysis Claims that the Government Digital Services saved the taxpayer £1.7bn during the last Parliament through "digital transformation" have been repeated so frequently of late, it seems the figure will go down as the main business case for the body's existence over the last Parliament. This is particularly true with the exodus of …
Kat Hall, 16 Oct 2015

UK.gov creates £500K fund to help universities teach cyber skills

The UK government is putting up a £500,000 fund to develop cyber security skills within universities and colleges, essentially helping them construct innovative teaching methods to provide the skills needed to protect the UK from hackers, malware and other information security threats. The Higher Education Academy will …
John Leyden, 23 Sep 2015
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Whitehall IT running costs creep up again to £4.6bn

Despite government plans to cut expensive contracts, IT running costs across Whitehall crept up by 7 per cent year-on-year to £4.6bn in 2014/15, according to a spend analysis by The Register. The findings are based on official government figures from eight of the largest Whitehall departments. The Ministry of Defence – which …
Kat Hall, 20 Aug 2015

Doubts cast on Islamic State's so-called leak of US .mil, .gov passwords

Updated Islamic State's frothing fanatics have leaked online what they claim to be the email addresses and plaintext passwords of 1,500 American military personnel – including CIA staff. The details include full names, email addresses, unencrypted passwords, ZIP codes, places of work, and telephone numbers. They come in a format that …
Kieren McCarthy, 12 Aug 2015
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And so it begins... Cleaning up HMRC's £10.7bn Aspire mess

HMRC is to follow the lead set by the Met Police by setting up a private company to run elements of the tech estate that currently fall under the scope of the failing multi-billion pound Aspire contract. This is the first step HMRC is taking to replace Aspire – the largest single tech contract in UK public sector, which it is …
Paul Kunert, 05 Aug 2015