back to article Whitehall IT running costs creep up again to £4.6bn

Despite government plans to cut expensive contracts, IT running costs across Whitehall crept up by 7 per cent year-on-year to £4.6bn in 2014/15, according to a spend analysis by The Register. The findings are based on official government figures from eight of the largest Whitehall departments. The Ministry of Defence – which …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Government in inefficiency shocker

    Plus ça change. Reduction in government size, number of civil servants, elimination of petty empires and scrapping of ineffectual agencies (*cough* Environment Agency *cough*) is the only real way to reduce IT spend. To quote Oscar Wilde "The bureaucracy is expanding to meet the needs of the expanding bureaucracy". Civil servants will always find way to spend money to justify their own existence. IT is a wonderful way to do it - endless meetings, committees, consultants, contracts and heaps of paperwork. That'll keep a whole agency busy for years.

    I should know. I did a stint in a government IT department. The things I saw, good grief...

    1. Warm Braw Silver badge

      Re: Government in inefficiency shocker

      Having spent over 50 minutes this morning in a phone queue trying to establish why HMRC had incorrectly changed my tax code, I'm not convinced that the gain in government "efficiency" achieved by their reduction of civil servant numbers is worth the loss of my "efficiency" - and indeed sanity.

      A lot of the government's IT spending accrues as a result of tweaking with tax and benefit regulations without first giving thought to the IT consequences. In the same way that the Office for Budget Responsibility reviews the financial assumptions of government, there ought to be an Office of IT Responsibility checking their plans make technical sense.

  2. codejunky Silver badge


    So the monopoly organisation which makes the rules as well as demanding as much money as they can get away with from the people refuses to cut back its spending? Kudo's to the MOD for their cuts although they do seem to like to spend money in general.

  3. Anonymous Coward

    Epic fail by the Hoxton hipsters at GDS then!

  4. 27escape

    Doesn't the incumbent write the spec

    For the new supplier to bid against? Meaning that its almost impossible to change

  5. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    According to Sir Humphrey

    Introducing economies in govt. always costs more.

  6. NotBob

    Across the pond, one of our former presidents (Reagan) has been quoted as saying

    "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth"

    I believe the same is probably true of government budgets...

  7. Chris Wicks 1

    As an evil consultant...

    ...who's done my time in government and the private sector, I find both pretty awful at efficiency and major project delivery. The big difference is that with the government, you hear about it.

    1. Dominion

      Re: As an evil consultant...

      The difference with government projects is the duplicity of management. Civil Servants want to manage their project / 3rd party, and the 3rd party want to manage their project / staff. As a tax payer I despair of some of the irrelevant questions I'm asked as a 3rd party contractor engaged to do work.

      Civil Servant: Have you thought about doing it this way?

      Me: No because it won't work that way.

      Civil Servant: OK, but can you cost it anyway?

      Me: Sure, or you could just send me a cheque for £5K and I'll get on with doing it the way we're going to end up doing it anyway after we've wasted 2 weeks discussing it....

      1. Richard 120

        Re: As an evil consultant...

        There are a lot of parallels between private and public IT projects, awards for failure, pretending things didn't happen etc.

        The main difference I have found is that usually in private IT the buck stops with someone, usually the person nominally in charge. In govt projects (local or central, I've done both) the buck goes to committee to be passed around endlessly.

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