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Agile consultant behind UK's disastrous Common Platform Programme steps down

Departure follows Register exposé

Old Bailey Lady Justice

The head of the agile company instrumental in the UK Ministry of Justice's disastrous Common Platform Programme has stepped down. His departure follows a Register exclusive exposing the project's failings.

Jeremy Renwick, chief exec of Agilesphere, held the role of Programme Manager/Agile Coach from February 2015 until April 2017, according to his LinkedIn profile. He also sat on the senior management team of the Common Platform Programme.

The Register has contacted Agilesphere to ask about Renwick's reasons for leaving, and we'll update the story when we hear more.

Multiple sources spoke to The Reg to confirm Renwick's departure.

Just last month, we revealed that millions have been wasted on plans to digitise the criminal justice system due to the mismanagement of a key programme that has so far delivered little value to the taxpayer.

Huge amounts of cash had already been spent on the £270m programme despite only one meaningful service being delivered: an online self-service system for magistrates to manage their sittings. The Register understands that over the last 30 months, a series of independent and internal reviews have documented the programme's failings, with all of the key milestones having been missed.

Since Agilesphere joined the Common Platform party more than two years ago, sources claim scores of its consultants have landed up there.

After we published the article, more sources have come forward to further corroborate the claims about systemic failures in the programme.

One former contractor said: "It is a sad tale of missed opportunity. A senior civil servant with no experience of running a complex IT programme; an overbearing Government Digital Service with misplaced philosophical goals; and poor executive governance who have watched a burning platform.

"It will not succeed without an overhaul of leadership and more pragmatic delivery approach. The consultancies involved should be held to account – on a time and materials basis with no hard deliverables or deadlines this is a license to print money."

A spokeswoman from the ministry declined to comment on Renwick's departure but did provide some additional information on the agile approach and programme recruitment. The MoJ said it is developing and delivering change iteratively – constantly testing our new systems and processes with users. It said it believes this will help avoid the common pitfalls of managing change of this scale and complexity.

As a result, the programme has a deliberate policy to manage development through teams made up of contractors sourced through a range of different suppliers. Each contract is let according to government procurement rules. ®

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