The big cock-up

Lou’s latest entry links to the new government “chat” site, bigconversation.org.uk. It seems she was quite impressed, albeit briefly…so naturally, I clicked on the link. And got an error page. “Hmmm,” I thought, “perhaps she mis-typed the link. I’ll try the homepage.”

This is what I got:

insert alttext here

For new readers, or those suffering from short-term memory loss, this recent entry discusses (well, rants about) the repeated failures of government IT contracts. Looks like they still haven’t got themselves sorted, have they?

Blair’s BIG Banter

So Tony jumped on the knowledge and information bandwagon donkeys ago, but check out this new Labour site launched today. I’d really like to rant, but quite frankly… I think it’s great. Some LIVE web chats with MP’s are being hosted throughout December – ok, so they’ll be selecting the questions they wish to answer but still…

Ah. Govt’s site is already down…I’m sure Fryer will have sth to say on that subject!

More money wasted

To continue the “throwing away my tax money” theme, today the Grauniad brings the news that, in addition to subsidising inept computer companies, I’m also funding arms deals, or at least underwriting them. Fantastic – now I have to demonstrate against myself. It seems our pals in Whitehall have made guarantees to step in and pay BAe should the the rather shaky Saudi government default, renege or otherwise fail to stump up the cash.

Super. I’m off to burn an effigy of myself in disgust at my shameless warmongering, or something.

I want to be a government contractor

I want to provide IT services and solutions to the British Government. It sounds like the most brilliant job in the world – there can be few better.

You enter a bid. Its accepted. You trouser the cash, and sit on your arse for a few years. Then, after citing “technical difficulties” or whatever was written on the back of your breakfast cereal this morning as an excuse, you spend a couple of weeks throwing together a user interface to something which either doesn’t exist or doesn’t work. You hand it over, it fails mightily and is scrapped.

Then you get the next contract.

BRILLIANT! The latest cockup is everyone’s favourite blunder-merchant EDS, who’ve buggered up the CSA‘s computer system – for a mere £450million. Groovy. What about the MOD’s pension, pay & HR system which didn’t work?

EDS aren’t alone. Siemens have a couple of high profile cockups – the immigration service’s new £80m asylum-claim-processing system was scrapped after it was unable to cope with the workload. And who could forget the famous Passport office debacle (note the fantastic title of that last article link).

And don’t forget the £800m or so wasted in a failed scheme at the the Benefits office – this time through ICL.

But don’t worry – the government has plans to avoid disasters. Lets hope its more successful than the previous plan, which appears to have been something like:

Civil servant 1: Right. We need a new IT system in the Ministry of Transport.

Civil servant 2: But we’d best make sure we don’t have another cock-up

CS1: How should we do that?

CS2: Hmmm…we need to make sure we hire a reliable contractor – who’s worked well in the past?

CS1: What about the Passport office people – didn’t that work?

CS2: Nah – disaster. On the other hand, its nearly lunchtime. What the hell, lets give it to Siemens anyway.

CS1: Great idea. Now then – lunch…

Or something like that, anyway.

Lou & buses

They’re quite similar you know. Well they’re both red. Sometimes. And they do say that there’s none for ages then three come at once. Or in Lou’s case, five come along at once – weblog entries that is.