back to article MPs round on plans to offshore gov IT work

MPs are cranking up the pressure on government to safeguard the jobs of up to 200 HP IT workers amid plans to outsource the positions to India. Employees involved in the Adams 2 contract with the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) are in the process of training up a team from Bangalore which will ultimately replace them as …


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  1. Anonymous Coward

    They've got to be kidding.

    You mean to tell me that after all the manic chaos and insanity that has come out in the form of GCSX requirements, that the government are actually going to be stupid enough to let this happen? All you have to do is type "india data breach" in to a search engine and sit back with a cup of tea for a good read.

    This is shear stupidity on a massive scale that, only a UK government could let happen.

    1. Someone Else Silver badge

      Only a UK government?!?

      "This is shear stupidity on a massive scale that, only a UK government could let happen."

      Really? **Only** a UK government?? What world do you live in? Such stupidity and cavalierness (there is such a word, right?) is de rigeur in any Corporatist-based govenrment.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Black Helicopters

        You have to admit...

        ..that only we would be stupid enough to stare in the face of a widely condemed and disasterous decision ... and STILL carry it out.

        1. nichomach


          "Balaclava Management"; "half a league, half a league, half a league onward..." - I knew I recognized the theory...

  2. Ancient Oracle funkie

    Ummmm, not quite.

    "The motion, signed by six other MPs from the region, also noted the "ethical implications" of cutting costs and raising the contract's profitability by exploiting lower paid overseas workers."

    Naughty HP exporting jobs to India to screw more profit out of a govt depatrment.

    Except, the reason is that, with the proposed budget cuts, it's the DWP who are forcing the issue. I'm currently on a DWP project and they stated that they wanted on-site timescales but with offshore rates.

    So the question of ethics isn't solely for HP to answer.

    FAIL all round as cheapest isn't usually the best

  3. Anonymous Coward

    That answers my question

    For some time I've asked the question of how private industry can deliver the same quality of service as a well managed public service ... (not that there are many of those around) ... and still make a profit.

    I guess that answers my question.

  4. WorkingFromHome

    Is it really cheaper?

    I'm never entirely sure that these offshore deals are really cheaper when we are talking about public money.

    For a basic example, a government deal costs £50m and employs 200 local workers. A large chunk of that £50m will go to pay those local workers, who pay income tax and national insurance. They then go on to buy things and do things which generate more tax in VAT, fuel duty and all those other various taxes. Therefore the total impact on the public purse is actually less than £50m

    Now offshore that work and you may be paying £40m, a big saving on the face of it, but most of that money now leaves the country and is therefore "lost" to the local economy. Plus you could well be having to pay unemployment benefits to 200 local people. Therefore the deal from an overall view is actually more expensive.

    Really government have to accept that they are not the private sector and that the "cost" of a deal for them is rarely as simple as which one has the cheapest headline price. It's far more complex than that.

    But then that seems to be an unpopular view these days - each department only wants to look at the figure on their spreadsheet - everything in isolation.

    1. FanMan

      Very good points.

      That's a significant difference between the private and government equation.

    2. Gavin Jamie

      Officially encouraged

      The NHS has an entire organisation dedicated to sending back office function abroad. These are not necessarily patient records but it is still HMG paying the unemployment benefits. As this is the DSS and not the NHS this is not deemed important.

    3. Field Marshal Von Krakenfart

      Cheaper? NO, it's the expensive option

      What WorkingFromHome is describing is the economic multiplier effect, but more of that later.

      WTF, 200 workers, £50M pa, that’s £250,000 each pa, OK that a gross oversimplification, but if you assume an average annual salary of £50K that’s still only £10M, that would seem to imply that there is £40M tied up in plant and services, which seems high to me, either HP are charging the gruberment a very high premium on these workers or they have some very nice PCs on their desks.

      Consider what happens to the 10M in wages to the workers, the money doesn’t magically disappear, these workers spend their money locally (well most of it) in local supermarkets, DIY stores, etc. part of that spend becomes wages for the people who work in these places and also spend their wages locally. In addition and the owners of business buy their product from suppliers who also employ people who will spend their wages locally and so on.

      So the economic effect of the £10M is much greater and I have seen this multiplier effect expressed as anything from 2 to 25, so potentially that £10M can become anything from £20M to £250M of activity in the economy.

      Conversely, by removing that £10M of wages from the workers is the same as removing £20M to £250M from the economy with a corresponding loss of tax revenue for the grubberement who will also have to pay welfare to the ex-workers.

      Slightly simplistic calculation but I think it illustrates the point.

      It seems to me that the biggest saving would be for the DPW to employ these people directly and cut out the middle man…

  5. Nick Kew


    Um ... many jobs gets offshored. That's how things are: get over it or bury your head in the sand.

    But of all jobs to want to save, they pick the very epicentre[1] of Big Government IT Disasters! Ouch!

    Don't know about the data protection issue. Is there any real reason to suppose data would be safer in the UK than in India?

    [1] Joint epicentre, alongside Accenture.

  6. Anonymous Coward

    Government AND offshoring.

    The only three words missing are Enterprise, ITIL3, and Prince2

    What could possibly go wrong?

  7. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Thumb Up

    Was I the only one thinking "A bit f**king late"

    Seriously how many *thousands* of jobs have past UK government's offoshored with the usual promises

    "Just as good at 1/x the cost"

    "Security will not be compromised"

    "Rollout schedules will be preserved"

    If govt's insist they should provide these services they should recognise they are responsible for managing the *data* involved in the service as well. Not to some "Cloud" which is based in a a country the operators cannot even *name* (because they're not sure where it is).

    There's been a lot of talk about "Shared services" at local govt level. Funny how that's just *not* quite good enough for Whitehall controlled departments is it not.

    Incidentally when the tender for this sort of work is issued "Social" issues (like how much money will disappear from the local economy and how many workers will be *added* to the local welfare bill) *can* be factored into the process.

    Thumbs up for the effort, but *boy* has it taken a *long* time to think this way.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    IT in the UK

    This is a good example of UK middle management saying that UK IT is no good. What is there to aspire to when your job could be exported abroad in the blink of an eye?

    How long until those middle management types have their jobs exported to India? It would be a cruel irony but I would enjoy the schadenfreude.

  9. Anonymous Coward

    Oh no...

    ... more spam from India then?

  10. John Dougald McCallum



    more telephone calls from someone called Simon or Lewis etc. with the thickest Bombay or Culcutta accent that one could cut with a knife.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    given that unlike most things in the Private sector, we have _no choice_ in whether to use a Government service (which entails giving them our data) _all_ functions should be carried out within the UK.

    Whilst I don't agree with (say) BT sending my data to India, I could search around for a company that doesn't. Can't really do that with the likes of DWP/HMRC can I now?

    The reality is the people who make these decisions know fuck all about data security, and so actually believe it when they promise everything will be safe (presumably because it'll be sent in a password protected Excel file!). So why do we allow them to make these decisions?

    Mind you it'd take a serious amount of belief in your principles to be unemployed and still say "I'm not signing on because they'll send my data to India!"

  12. Mickey Finn

    So let me get this right...

    ...the perfect storm, or the ultimate state blah blah... when nobody in this country has a job, when all of the entrepreneurs have left because the tax burden is completely unsustainable and when even the remaining employer, the government, can't afford to employ "civil servants"...


  13. Anonymous Coward

    Tory voters

    YOU brought them in!

    Didn't see this coming did you?

    By god the English really are thick as pigs sh**e.

    1. Anonymous Coward


      Labour started the ground work on this long before the latest idiots took charge.

  14. Morteus
    Thumb Down

    Safeguarding the future?

    This is the BRITISH goverment right?

    The duely elected body that represents BRITIAN, and strives to act in BRITAIN's best interests?

    "alarmed at the increased security risks of storing millions of live personal data files, including national insurance numbers, offshore".

    "The motion, signed by six other MPs from the region, also noted the "ethical implications" of cutting costs and raising the contract's profitability by exploiting lower paid overseas workers."

    "One of the issues is the loss of 200 jobs in Tyneside, but the other key issue is the security of sensitive information with confidential information, including NI numbers zipping back and forth between Britain and India."

    So, while it IS an issue that money, investment and jobs are at stake, it's not a KEY one. Gosh I feel so much better knowing that my goverment holds our future in such high priority.

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