Articles about Pfi

Sheaf of £50 notes poised on the rim of a toilet bowl as toilet is flushed. Collage of two photos sourced from Shutterstock

Margaret Hodge's book outlines 'mind boggling' UK public sector waste

Review It’s impossible to read former bollocker-in-chief Margaret Hodge’s account of being chair of the government's spending watchdog without repeatedly banging your head against the wall. Hodge presided over the House of Commons’ Public Accounts Committee between 2010-2015, during the coalition government’s austerity programme. …
Kat Hall, 20 Sep 2016

Let it go, let it go: How global DNS could survive in the frozen lands outside US control

The plan to move control of the top-level of the internet from the US government to California non-profit ICANN has received broad approval following a month-long public comment period. The group responsible for guiding the fate of the "names" aspect of the critical IANA contract – the bit that oversees the global DNS – has …
Kieren McCarthy, 26 May 2015
GCHQ Benhall doughnut aerial view

INSIDE GCHQ: Welcome to Cheltenham's cottage industry

Geek's Guide to Britain For staff at the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) in Cheltenham, there’s an air of Fight Club about the place. The first rule about GCHQ is you don’t talk about GCHQ. It’s a well observed tradition, even though there are road signs and a bus route directing you to this highly secret establishment, the nerve centre …
Bob Dormon, 24 May 2013
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Hooking offshore wind farms into UK grid will HIKE bills, MPs warn

It is "unlikely" that a new licensing system intended to connect offshore wind farms to the national grid will save consumers money, an influential committee of MPs has warned. In a report, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) said that the offshore transmission operator (OFTO) licensing regime could instead "lead to higher …
OUT-LAW.COM, 15 Jan 2013
homeless man with sign

Whitehall's G-Cloud: Hype or hope?

Special report According to the British government, the cloud will make everything better. The UK gov is rolling out something called G-Cloud, which according to No 10 means faster and more flexible IT procurement based on a list of open systems and approved standards. The punchline for the British taxpayer is that services will be delivered …
Gavin Clarke, 28 Mar 2012
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Britain's Harrier jump-jets reprieved to fly and fight again

Blighty's famous force of Harrier jump-jets, controversially disposed of during last year's defence review along with the Royal Navy's aircraft carriers, have been reprieved: the radical vectored-thrust jets, believed by many to have been the best strike planes in Britain's arsenal, will fly (and almost certainly, fight) again …
Lewis Page, 15 Nov 2011
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Electric plane-flinger for US and Royal navies doing well

The electromagnetic mass-driver catapults that will equip the next generation of aircraft carriers in the British and US navies are doing well in tests. This is important to both services, as their next carriers will be effectively useless without the new technology. An E-2C Hawkeye assigned to the Black Eagles of Airborne …
Lewis Page, 30 Sep 2011
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Libya fighting shows just how idiotic the Defence Review was

Analysis Recent combat operations by British and allied forces in Libya are beginning to tell us a lot: not so much about the future of Libya, which remains up for grabs, but about the tools one actually needs for fighting real-world wars against real-world enemy armed forces. The vast bulk of our own armed forces are set up, equipped …
Lewis Page, 25 Mar 2011
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Engineers want £20bn for rubbish idea

In a utopian report, the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) says the UK needs £20bn additional spending on recycling infrastructure over the next decade. The recommendation is made in a report today that proposes "unlocking value locked up in the UK's current waste" – which sounds great – but the report fails to tell us …
Andrew Orlowski, 14 Jan 2011

HMRC spent £765m through Aspire last year

HM Revenue and Customs spent 44 per cent of its 2009-10 supplier budget through its IT outsourcing deal led by Capgemini. New figures released to Kable by the tax-collection agency through Freedom of Information show that its spending was dominated by two outsourced deals – Aspire for IT and Mapeley Steps. Mapeley Steps is a …
Kable, 09 Nov 2010
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Cameron cocks up UK's defences - and betrays Afghan troops

Comment Prime Minister David Cameron has taken personal charge of sorting out the UK's defences. Not only has he cocked it up more than somewhat, he has also slashed vital helicopters for our troops fighting in Afghanistan - and then lied about it. If you want detail on that last bit, skip to the last page. Otherwise, we'll take it …
Lewis Page, 20 Oct 2010
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Child Support Agency system hit by new problems

Updated The Child Support Agency's (CSA) much-criticised computer system is again struggling this week, with staff unable to access case files because it is running so slowly. The problems began to emerge on Monday. Callers are being advised to try again later in the week, or being promised a call back when the system is back to …
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MoD increased annual IT spending by £240m

The Ministry of Defence has revealed that its annual ICT spending rose from £1.15bn in 2007-08 to £1.39bn in 2008-09. Defence minister Andrew Robathan said in a parliamentary written answer that the costs include both operational and non-operational IT, satellite and telecommunications. It spent £852m in 2008-09, as well as £ …
Kable, 28 Jul 2010
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RAC prof: Road charges can end the ripoff of motorists

The head of the RAC Foundation - the RAC's independent roads research charity - says that the English highway system can no longer be run the way it now is, as a colossal money-spinner for the Treasury. He advocates a move to "pay as you go" road use. Stephen Glaister, a retired professor of transport and infrastructure, lays …
Lewis Page, 05 Jul 2010
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Doctors call for NHS Direct review

The chair of the GP's council Dr Laurence Buckman has called for a proper review of the cost-effectiveness of parts of NHS Direct - we're guessing call centres - and changes to the Summary Care Record scheme. Earlier this week it emerged that NHS Direct is moving to hire call centre managers with no medical experience. …
John Oates, 11 Jun 2010
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Greatest Living Briton loses £30m

The 'Institute of Web Science' is another casualty of the UK's spending cuts. The £30m institute was announced only two months ago in Labour's drunken pre-election cash splurge. The Greatest Living Briton, Sir Timothy Berners-Lee, was appointed to lead it, with backing from Southampton University - the Harlem Globetrotters of …
Andrew Orlowski, 25 May 2010
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Major helicopter reorganisation for RAF and Navy

The Labour government has announced significant changes at the Ministry of Defence (MoD), whose effect will be to put more resources into the Afghan war while nonetheless cutting spending overall - largely by reductions to parts of the RAF not engaged in the fighting. However, there is also a major reshuffle of helicopters among …
Lewis Page, 15 Dec 2009
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What would you pay for 400,000 new green jobs?

Good news emerged from the recent Low Carbon Summit hosted by bailed-out £10bn loss-making bank, RBS. Peter Mandelson got covered in custard, and the government announced a new industrial strategy. Apparently 400,000 new "environmental sector" jobs will be created by 2017, according to Gordon Brown, who reckoned 1.3 million …
Ben Pile, 02 Apr 2009
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 …
Kablenet, 13 Feb 2009
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BAE 'skips a generation' in killer robot tech

Farnborough UK-headquartered arms globocorp BAE Systems plc has shown off a raft of new robotic concepts this week at the Farnborough Air Show. But the newest and biggest kid on the BAE droidplane block is the Mantis, a large and powerful twin-engined technology demonstrator project whose wraps came off on Monday for the ceremonial inking …
Lewis Page, 16 Jul 2008
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Second Skynet satellite to launch tonight

The second Skynet 5 UK military communications satellite is to launch today at 2204 GMT from Kourou in French Guiana, aboard an Ariane 5 rocket. It will share the ride with a Brazilian telecomms bird. With Skynet 5B online, joining the Skynet 5A sat already in space, the Skynet 5 system will be fully operational; however an on …
Lewis Page, 09 Nov 2007
Flag Scotland

Scottish decision threatens PFI contract secrecy

The Scottish Information Commissioner has ordered a health board to disclose the details of a private finance initiative (PFI) hospital deal worth ₤1.2bn. The decision could have far-reaching consequences, says a freedom of information law expert. Commissioner Kevin Dunion said NHS Lothian could not refuse May Docherty's …
OUT-LAW.COM, 30 Oct 2007
eBay teaser 75

Patient info ends up on eBay

The Dudley Group of Hospitals NHS Trust is trying to find out how one of its computers full of confidential medical information was sold on eBay. Disposal of the DGoH's computers is carried out under contract to Siemens Medical Solutions, as part of a PFI agreement. Computer Disposals has a sub-contract with Siemens to …
Kablenet, 17 Sep 2007
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Registration open for reality TV style Mars mission trial

The European Space Agency (ESA) has formally opened registration for wannabe Mars-mission astronaut guinea pigs, willing to spend up to a year and a half in a "hermetically sealed" spaceship simulator with strictly limited communications. The plan was flagged up two months ago, but the ESA is now taking applications. There will …
Lewis Page, 21 Jun 2007
question mark teaser 75

MPs question Capgemini's HMRC profits

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has recommended that HM Revenue and Customs "rigorously benchmark" its 10-year deal with Capgemini after a steep rise in its revenue and profits from the deal after only three years. The contract HMRC awarded Capgemini in 2004 allowed the department to consider price changes if additional …
Mark Ballard, 12 Jun 2007

Terminator kill-bots to be run by system called 'Skynet'

Following the announcement of the new Flying-HK-style "Reaper" death machines for the British forces, the prophetic nature of the Terminator movies has been further confirmed. Not only will the UK MoD deploy airborne cyber-gunships remarkably similar to those in the films, the flying robot assassins will be controlled by an IT …
Lewis Page, 11 May 2007
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Galileo PFI delayed by revenue fears

Galileo, the planned European rival to America's Global Positioning System (GPS), is in trouble. Much of the ambitious project's construction is supposed to be privately funded, and plans call for a united pan-European company to oversee the set-up and running of the Galileo network. But the various private companies involved …
Lewis Page, 15 Mar 2007
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SkyNet 5 blasts into space

British military intelligence satellite SkyNet5 blasted off into space this weekend from Kourou in French Guiana. The launch was originally scheduled for Saturday, but a small glitch in ground equipment prompted a 24 hour delay. Once established in orbit, the satellite will form part of a three-part constellation passing data …
Lucy Sherriff, 12 Mar 2007

Gov IT procurement talks enter third year

The government is expected to concede some precious ground to the IT industry over difficult contractual negotiations that have just entered their third year. The contentious new (now not so) model contract terms that were introduced in November 2004 against staunch industry opposition might be watered down to reflect the …
Mark Ballard, 08 Dec 2006
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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

Libra still weighs down flagship govt. IT project

Incessant delays to Libra have further set back a more ambitious programme at the Department for Constitutional Affairs (DCA), the £1bn DISC (development, innovation and support contracts) programme. DISC managed to escape the scrutiny of the Public Accounts Committee last week when they turned their attention on the DCA, …
Mark Ballard, 23 Jun 2006
fingers pointing at man

EDS's RAF pay system struggles to take off

Exclusive RAF personnel have spent the last six weeks pulling their hair out over problems with pay and benefits brought about by the bodged implementation of an EDS computer system. Since it went live at the end of March, thousands have been on the receiving end of processing errors in the payroll system. Instigated by the Armed …
Mark Ballard, 09 May 2006

OGC: hiatus? What hiatus?

Comment The government procurement sheriff is working on a revision of its vexing model contracts for IT projects in order to reconsider views it ignored in its last consultation. Unsurprisingly, the Office of Government Commerce (OGC) is staying tight-lipped over the debacle, which has seen it at loggerheads with the IT industry for …
Mark Ballard, 25 Apr 2006

DCA contract merger unbalanced by Libra

The risky £1bn merger of IT contracts at the Department of Constitutional Affairs has been delayed while it tries to absorb what must be the most delayed IT project in the history of government. The numerous contracts being absorbed by the DCA's DISC (development, innovation and support contracts) programme are being channelled …
Mark Ballard, 20 Apr 2006
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Sleuths tangled in NHS-IT can o' worms

Comment Official auditors assigned to assess the multi-billion pound National Programme for IT* might have been forgiven for thinking that this one was going to be straightforward. The National Audit Office chose in summer 2004 to "examine the procurement process" for NPfIT, decide whether its supplier contracts would give "good value …
Mark Ballard, 21 Feb 2006
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UK Gov disaster recovery kit: belt, braces... brolly

Home Secretary Charles Clarke has recently been claiming the new-look super-efficient Passport Service as a Government IT success, but it was not always thus, as Liberal Home Affairs spokesman Mark Oaten reminded him this week. Once upon a time, umbrellas were an essential component of the Passport Service's disaster recovery …
John Lettice, 22 Jul 2005
hands waving dollar bills in the air

Outsourcing UK public sector services - the moral hazards

Comment Recent estimates by Kable, an organisation which provides technology research and analysis on the UK government and public services sector, suggest that almost one fifth of public sector services (£60bn) could be delivered through outsourcing to private and voluntary bodies. Principle sectors targeted for this treatment appear …
Bob McDowall, 21 Apr 2005
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Service packs, senators and civil liberties

Letters Let's get this out of the way, then. Imagine you have to take a plaster (band-aid) off your shin. Best to get it done quickly, right? Well, think of this the same way. SP2. Feels better already, doesn't it? Okay, okay. MS has made a mess of things and over 200 applications and games are broken by SP2. Cue the Linux fans once …
Lucy Sherriff, 20 Aug 2004
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MPs slams Customs on suck it and see IT

Customs & Excise is spending vast sums on IT for uncertain benefits, according to an influential group of MPs. The Public Accounts Committee slammed Customs for spending "huge sums of public money without being confident about the scale of likely benefits". It also said the department had failed to properly test e-services …
John Oates, 22 Jun 2004
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Courts IT project ‘shocking waste of money’

A project to computerise Magistrates' Courts has been branded a "shocking waste of money" after the cost of the project doubled in just two years. Project Libra was supposed to develop a new IT infrastructure linking magistrates' courts electronically while improving the efficiency of the legal system. But in a stinging rebuke …
Tim Richardson, 29 Jan 2003
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Cambridgeshire snuggles up to NTL

NTL Business has joined forces with Cambridgeshire County Council to build a broadband network for the county's rural community. The £29m contract should bring broadband to 300 council offices, schools, libraries and community access points across Cambridgeshire by 2004. Ultimately some 700 sites will be connected to the …
Tim Richardson, 24 Sep 2002
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CSA computer system '£50m over budget'

A computer system designed to speed up the operation of the Child Support Agency is months behind schedule and £50 million over budget. The £200 million project was due to go live in April 2003, but has now been delayed till next summer due to unspecified "technical problems", people working on the project told the BBC. EDS …
John Leyden, 13 Aug 2002
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Electronic courts scheme in crisis talks

A project to link hundreds of magistrates' courts in the UK electronically may have to be abandoned because discussions between the government and a key supplier are floundering. An internal memo from the Lord Chancellor's Department said it had been "unable to reach an agreement with Fujitsu" on a proposal for the delayed …
John Leyden, 26 Apr 2002

Govt watchdog slams £1 billion IT failure

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has today published its report into the government's failed payment card scheme - which saw £1 billion of taxpayers' money wasted - and pulls no punches. The project, which aimed to replace a paper-based system for benefits claims with a magnetic strip card, "must rank as one of the biggest …
Kieren McCarthy, 06 Dec 2001