The Channel logo

back to article National Audit Office tears government's savings claims in HALF

The National Audit Office has questioned the Cabinet Office's weighty ICT savings claims and revealed it still does not know how many small biz suppliers are winning public sector contracts. Minister Francis Maude's merry band claims it saved taxpayers £702m on tech and comms spending in fiscal 2012 ended March - £354m through …

COMMENTS

This topic is closed for new posts.
Bronze badge

Is anybody really that surprised by this news given past performance?

0
0
Silver badge

Cabinet Office misreporting the savings reporting from their meddling?

Surely not! The NAO needs to drop it's negativity, get with the digital programme and cease this awkward truth-telling immediately.

Roll on the happy day when the Government Digital Service gains control over NAO's web publishing and can bury its reports in a deep digital dungeon.

1
0
Gold badge
Unhappy

Funny how when government wants data from HM subjects its got to be *absolutely* correct NOW

But when it's other departments not so much.

1
0

One Sentence / Paragraph

Why?

0
0
Gold badge
Meh

That said it's acutally quite good as 46% of the *real* savings repeat.

Which is pretty good.

I still think it's incredible that the whole UK civil service does not share say a common payroll or pensions system (given they administer the govt paid pensions in the UK).

Now is this worth what was paid? That's a more doubtful question.

0
0
Bronze badge

Re: That said it's acutally quite good as 46% of the *real* savings repeat.

A common payroll system would require at least SOME commonality between all the different salary scales, which you don't have. It isn't just that local government are completely separate entities and people like nurses, armed forces and so on have very different pay scales, but all the government departments/ministries over the years have been given more & more autonomy over their budgets.

So though staff in different central government departments may be doing the equivalent level job they are likely to have slightly different job titles & may well have slightly different pay rates depending on how those 2 departments have arranged things. This means that at least the processing of what they should be paid has to be done by the different departments, and the only commonality can be on the actual paying of the salary - or in practice whichever company they've outsourced the function to.

Yes I know that a really good payroll consultancy could manage this, but that would take control out of the hands of the various departments and they won't stand for that!

0
0
Gold badge
Unhappy

Re: That said it's acutally quite good as 46% of the *real* savings repeat.

" but that would take control out of the hands of the various departments and they won't stand for that!"

This and only this is the key part of your post.

Everything else is basically down to scoping a payroll system of sufficient flexibility, ideally with some rationalisation before hand.

Nurses come under the NHS payroll system (which I think is centralized) and IIRC the UK armed forces have eventually gone to a shared payroll service as well.

From an IT perspective its about recording certain specific data and applying assorted bonus factors and weightings to that data.

IOW its a database with a lot of special factors, not a simulation of the birth of the whole universe.

0
0
Bronze badge

Re: That said it's acutally quite good as 46% of the *real* savings repeat.

Oh I completely agree, but the task of getting one system specced to suit all the departments is one of those impossible tasks. They will each demand their own fiddly requirements which must be fulfilled in exactly the same way they always have been (government are renowned for specifying the solution rather than the actual requirement). If someone managed to wrest control at a very high level they will then create a "one size fits no-one" system - remember NPfIT?

Then the wrangling over who pays for it will start, not just the development but the on-going charge for using it. Do they pay per salaried staff member or a set fee? Who pays for upgrades? Will the bigger departments get more control over changes? Long gone are the days when any common facilities can be paid for by a central pool, each department is responsible for every penny of it's spend.....

1
0
Gold badge
Unhappy

Re: That said it's acutally quite good as 46% of the *real* savings repeat.

"Oh I completely agree, but the task of getting one system specced to suit all the departments is one of those impossible tasks. "

Demonstrating once again that changing IT systems is (in reality) a business change problem.

If you were serious about this I think you'd need to create some sort of incentive for each department/agency to encourage them to rationalize their rules (probably, and I guarantee the Treasury would b**ch about this, letting the department/agency retain part of their savings). I think there are some low hanging fruit in this area. A positive result (IE actual savings between a couple of departments who get to keep say 50% of them) could start to get some momentum for change (and reduces the number of systems).

0
0

Tactical versus Strategic

The evidence demonstrates that the Cabinet Office, together with the rest of Whitehall, is being steered away from anything truly strategic by lobbied interests: http://sitfo.wordpress.com/2008/03/10/tactical-vs-strategic/ SITFO has advocated a model that includes a Strategic IT Framework and regional CIOs, a model that has been adopted and proven by other governments including Finland and China. When are the vested commercial interests going to be put to one side to allow the UK to deliver something that is sustainable?

0
0
This topic is closed for new posts.

Opinion

Chris Mellor

Drives nails forged with Red Hat iron into VCE's coffin
Sleep Cycle iOS app screenshot

Trevor Pott

Forget big-spending globo biz: it's about the consumer... and he's desperate for a nap
Steve Bennet, ex-Symantec CEO

Chris Mellor

Enormo security firm needs to get serious about acquisitions

Features

Windows 8.1 Update  Storeapps Taskbar
Chinese Buffet self-service
Chopping down the phone tree to scrump low-hanging fruit
An original member of the System/360 family announced in 1964, the Model 50 was the most powerful unit in the medium price range.
Big Blue's big $5bn bet adjusted, modified, reduced, back for more
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella
Redmond needs to discover the mathematics of trust