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.