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back to article Conservatives want big IT deals delayed

Shadow minister Francis Maude has asked the cabinet secretary to postpone the signing of important IT contracts until after the election. In a letter to Gus O'Donnell, Cabinet Office shadow Maude added that a minister must justify any cases where the government decides it must go ahead with a new deal. The Conservative Party is …


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Anonymous Coward

What's the bet...

... that the IT companies have it in their contracts that they get paid even if put on hold.


Clause 1: If the contract is put on hold, we get paid the full amount.

Clause 2: If the contract gets cancelled, we get paid the full amount

Clause 3: If the contract is lost due to a change in government, we get paid the full amount"


Perfectly reasonable!

"Change of government" should be an automatic item on the risk register for any long-running project.

I'd be surprised if any contract paid the supplier the full amount on cancellation - unless the project was near completion anyway - but any properly-drawn up contract will ensure that the supplier isn't left out-of-pocket. That may very well include payment for things which have been ordered or acquired but which will never be used - equipment, buildings, etc.

If a contract gets put on hold, then it's also not unreasonable to pay the supplier to keep the key members of the team available, so that continuity isn't lost when the project re-starts.


Sign the petition to demand to government review it's outdated IT project processes

There is currently a petition open on the Number 10 website to demand the Government review it's outdated IT processes of signing huge contracts for software projects which are then destined to fail and instead adopt a more incremental and agile approach.

If you are sick and tired of hearing about how many billions of pounds of taxpayers money is being needlessly wasted please sign:

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"but any properly-drawn up contract will ensure that the supplier isn't left out-of-pocket."

I think you'll find HMG contract negotiation skill leave a *lot* to be desired, along with (I *suspect*) at least some cases where ministers have asked for "Poison pill " clauses to make cancellation *extremely* expensive.

With that background what do you think the odds are of a government contract being "properly-drawn up " ?

Silver badge

Google translation follows:

"it would be a shame if there was further delay to pressing but uncontroversial Whitehall procurements"

It would be a shame if I couldn't ink this contract with the company whose board I'm going to join when I'm booted out on my fat arse after the election.


Standard clauses for all new government contracts?

1. Failure to deliver to spec/to schedule/to budget will result in being barred from future government contracts for five years.

2. Elected officials (MPs, Lords, Councillors) are barred from holding consultant, executive or board level positions with suppliers for five years after they leave office.

I'm sick of seeing the same companies succesfully bidding for new government work while failing to deliver existing contracts and the revolving door between big business and the government!


Can't These Fools Agree and Work as a Team for US

All politicians are elected. They are supposed to work for us, rather than for themselves, their party, or specifically in opposition to another party.

Can't they combine their talents (mmm?) and agree those items that should not be delayed?

Is there ever an actual commons vote on contracts who's terms run across elections and that also commit to spending very large sums of money due to be collected in future taxes? If not, what's to stop any of them setting up five/six year contracts just before each election (especially when there's a chance we may boot them out) and hobbling the replacement government, so they have lees monetary room to get things the way the electorate were promised.

Maybe we should have referendums on all contracts over a certain value, before our money is committed. If the in-power politicians can't make a good case, we may stop them doing things we have no desire for, either because it's a crap idea or a higher price than we want to fund (in cost or privacy), or both (ID cards anyone?).

Uh oh, that could be headed towards government of the people, by the people for the people.

Rather than what seems ever closer government of the people, by the party, for the party (but with special emphasis on their top dogs).


the boys networks

The one guys anticipate winning the elections and don't want to miss the opportunity paying off some bills by bringing in their good old friends. Is this nepotism or politics?


Balanced view

Its fair and reasonable that the government should continue with governing, and that means awarding new contracts, until the day it is kicked out.

However, as elections are a foreseeable event, it is also reasonable that there should be a reasonable cancellation fee if a project is cancelled within 12 weeks from signing on the dotted line.

Maybe its time for one of those epetition thingies....

Anonymous Coward

Nothing that can't wait for six weeks

"The six-week shut down in the run-up to an election is already a hindrance to procurement planning."

Too bad.



All the Tories have to do is say "We're gonna cancel any contracts we don't like AND we'll introduce a law which gives us the right to do so which trumps any contract law."

The IT companies will run a mile.

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"All the Tories have to do is say "We're gonna cancel any contracts we don't like AND we'll introduce a law which gives us the right to do so which trumps any contract law."

The IT companies will run a mile."

As it happens the US Govt reserves the right (and has done IIRC since its founding) to cancel *any* contract it's in at *any* time *without* compensation tot he contractor. It is one of the shaping forces of gubmint con-tractors

1)Big (hidden) cash reserves to handle the *years* of screwing about while Washington decides what they want.

2)*Very* close links to politicians through assorted lobbyists to make sure it won't be canceled.

3)Charging for *everything* over and above the baseline contract requirements, so they get back *all* the money they wasted (which would have been lost if they lost the bidding competition)

A more practical Act might be one outlawing the insertion of "Poison pill" clauses (EG Cancellation of our ID card contract will require HMG to pay us 100% of our *expected* operating charges to them for our projected contract length) in government contracts.

Or something which gave the "Traffic light" reviews actual power to stop things happening. A Red means *no* further work until issues are resolved.

Most people find contract law and procurement slightly less exciting than train spotting but above watching paint dry. However when *billions* of pounds are at stake (Or 10s of Bn with the NHS IT project) the payoff could be quite substantial.

The world has enough HP/EDS, CSC's, CAP Gemini etc. It *really* does not need to create any more.

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