back to article Parliament's expenses body spent £2.2m on IT

The newly minted Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority has spent £2.2m on IT to get itself up and running, a commons answer revealed yesterday. Bob Russell MP asked what services Calyx UK provided to the authority and whether it had considered other suppliers. Charles Walker, representing the Speaker's Committee for …


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  1. Stu J


    Why the f**k aren't all public sector bodies forced to use one central payroll/HR function, that they get charged a nominal annual fee per person for?

  2. Chris Miller
    Thumb Down

    £2.2m ???

    We 're talking about an expenses system for 650 people. While it might be a slight exaggeration to suggest that you could do that with a spreadsheet, if I couldn't deliver the system for < £1m pa and make at least a 40% margin on the deal, I'd quit IT.

    Of course, I don't have to pay for the boxes at Wimbledon, Lords and Twickenham, plus dinners at Le Gavroche; so naturally I'll never get the business.

  3. Anonymous Coward

    A pyrrhic victory?

    This reminds me a little of a software vendor where I used to work.

    We originally had free Coke, Diet Coke, bottled water etc. in the kitchen fridge.

    One day the bean counters decided that not only was this questionnable from a tax/benefit position but that the company should not be spending money on such things.

    So out of the blue the cans disappeared from the fridge and a behemoth coke vending machine appeared on the stairwell

    Net result everyone stopped drinking Coke and was annoyed with the bean counters.

    It later turned out that it was costing more to rent the Coke machine (and then not sell any) than just buying the stuff in the first place. Common sense prevailed and the fridge was restocked.

    Esc key because Coke on a laptop keyboard is a far worse menace then coffee or water.

    Anon because HMRC may be reading and adding this to my P11D

    1. Goat Jam

      I'm surprised

      that the beancounters didn't just remove the machine and let you guys bring in your own coke.

  4. Dr_Jim

    Don't you love sandbagging

    Most US companies of the size of Parliament do their expense management with a written policy and a work-flow procedure. All it takes is a couple of PCs in the finance department, with a copy of Intuit or Excel. Of course, there are occasional "errors" too, but computers don't catch those. Diligent accountants do that.

    Perhaps Parliament ought to sub-contract its IT functions out? I'm sure a US company will offer a better deal, never mind the Indians or Chinese!

  5. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Thumb Up

    Anyone heard of these guys?

    Only it's kinda of amazing that this lot *delivered* this system in the sort of timescale that one of the "Usual suspects" would probably still be writing their *first* draft requirements review.

    That said I'm *very* surprised that there aren't half a dozen packages to do this for various assorted apps.

    Ah but wait.

    This is MP's expenses we are talking about and of course they (like *every* government department and non departmental body) are "special"

    They *need* a special solution.

    Just like *every* other piece of the UK government.

    Thumbs up as hopefully it will make them a *bit* more honest and perhaps they should stop the slide to a millionaires club of MP's (that's Labor as well Libs and Cons) by considering (given what the *actual* scale of their responsibilities is) what MP's (and Ministers) *should* be paid.

  6. Anonymous Coward

    @ "A pyrrhic victory?"

    Polite applause dude.

    Now, ahem, about this P11D thing?

  7. steeplejack

    The Government/Public Sector refuses to follow its own Policy.

    The published policy is that Free Software will be given equal consideration and evaluation and used unless there is some demonstrable reason why it can't be used. But in practice the public sector and all their outsourcing companies are so infested with Windows people that everything gets done in the most expensive and badly-designed way possible.

  8. Fryerman


    This looks like a lot, but is probably not a bad price to set the IT infrastructure for a small government dept. So this probably isn't the cost of saving some £150k in expenses. It is interesting that they couldn't have tagged onto the shared services used by some of the other departments, especially as this would appear to be a small goverment body.

  9. Mark Steel

    Why do they need infrastructure at all ?

    why do they need "Infrastructure support includes server hardware, desktops and laptops, network hardware, office infrastructure, firewalls, anti-virus, web proxy and hosting services, Wide Area Network link, security solutions, email and telephony."

    Why are they not just sitting in the corner of a government building, which must surely have laptops, email, telephony, network ?

    Then for their core expense function, just use web-based software as a service and they certainly don't need their own servers. Other depts (such as HMRC) have so much infrastructure they don't need, that they make £2.2m seem like some very small change, however government needs to change how they do everything in IT and it would make sense to start with something small like the expenses system !

    wonder if they went to google and found ( oh look a UK company !)

    and so on and on an on.

    Just looking at, its £2000 for 200+ employees - slightly different to £2.2m

  10. Ascylto
    Big Brother


    That's an awful lot of Duck Houses!

  11. Marco van Beek

    Cost per capita, anyone?

    £2.2M on IT to manage the expenses of 650 MP's? Works out at around £3500 per MP. That's 10 cheap desktops, or a halfway decent workgroup server each. I wonder how many employees the IPSA have and what the spend per capita is?

    And then they wonder why they have a budget deficit? Somehow I cannot help but think it would have been cheaper to let the expenses scam continue.

    Wouldn't it be nice if we could pay our taxes into an escrow account, rather than the usual bottomless pit?

  12. Anonymous Coward

    IPSA Website

    Can we find out how much they spent on the IPSA website? Looks like it took someone about 20 minutes to knock it together.

  13. proto-robbie

    Bravo, brothers...

    ... that's 16 years worth of bogus payments at today's value? As a fellow IT worker I shouldn't condemn my brothers making a killing, but...

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