back to article UK Home Office seeks suppliers: £25m up for grabs to build database to keep track of crimelords' ill-gotten gains

The UK Home Office is seeking out software vendors to replace a vital but ageing database that helps keep a track of criminals' assets accrued through illegal activity in the UK. In a procurement which could be worth £25m, the central government ministry is looking to replace the Joint Asset Recovery Database (JARD), a live …

  1. karlkarl Silver badge

    Lets be honest, the UK Home Office has already chosen Microsoft. Your bid is really just to help provide them with leverage to negotiate a lower price.

    1. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

      I can do that!

      I'll do it for £24,500,150.00

      A few hours in Access, cost £150

      Donation to Johnson's Child Support Fund: £500,000

      Profit: £24 million

      Cayman Islands for me.

      1. David Bird
        Alert

        Re: I can do that!

        Whoa there. Access? I think two worksheets in Excel will suffice.

        1. David Lewis 2
          Happy

          Re: I can do that!

          Remember to ensure the only copy of the "database" is on a thumb drive that is easily "lost" when the evil crime lords offer you sufficient "inducement"!

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: I can do that!

            You could always cut out the middle man and outsource it to the outfit that was going to run the government's pr0n, sorry, 'adult entertainment' ID database. Apart from their database 'skills', I imaging they already know a lot about ill-gotten gains

        2. sanmigueelbeer Silver badge
          Coat

          Re: I can do that!

          "Whoa there. Access? I think two worksheets in Excel will suffice."

          You forgot the bit about hosting it in an open AWS bucket.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Can this really be that complicated*?

    Surprised they've not just opted for the "de-facto" spreadsheet solution...

    *Ignoring "political objectives", of course.

    1. veti Silver badge

      Re: Can this really be that complicated*?

      Speaking with my database engineering hat on...

      ... yes. Yes, this can easily be "that complicated" and a good deal more. If you build it in some kind of SQL, I'd be surprised if the finished product has fewer than 500 distinct tables.

      Of course, "building" the database is only the tip of the iceberg of costs. As ane fule kno, the real money is in maintaining it. That's the dirty little secret that the "software development life cycle" tries to cover up: at least 80% of the cost of software happens after it's installed, assuming of course it's actually used.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Can this really be that complicated*?

        "Yes, this can easily be "that complicated" and a good deal more. If you build it in some kind of SQL, I'd be surprised if the finished product has fewer than 500 distinct tables."

        Err ... no. The complexity is in the auditability and managing the integrity of the data. The actual data itself appears to be relatively simple, at first glance.

        "That's the dirty little secret that the "software development life cycle" tries to cover up: at least 80% of the cost of software happens after it's installed, assuming of course it's actually used"

        Then I'd humbly suggest that you're developing/producing/maintaing software wrong.

        1. veti Silver badge

          Re: Can this really be that complicated*?

          "Then I'd humbly suggest that you're developing/producing/maintaing software wrong."

          If the customer buys it, how is it "wrong"?

    2. big_D Silver badge

      Re: Can this really be that complicated*?

      You have to have the data stored in unalterable format (i.e. once a piece of data has been added, it can't be changed or deleted, just "extended"), otherwise a corrupt official could easily just delete entries or reduce their worth, whilst packing the "goods" into a white van at the loading ramp.

      That means a lot of encryption, auditing options and much more, to ensure the database can't simply be altered and any changes are accredited to the correct user, so you have full traceability.

      The large part of the price is probably servers/server licenses, CALs for access to the database, then comes the development of the software and maintenance.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Can this really be that complicated*?

        Blockchain...ducks and runs....

        Any fool knows blockchain will win this bid.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    £2Bn over 15 years?

    Doesn't sound like they've been finding all that much then.

    Doesn't the EU attribute £7Bn to prostitution alone when decided the UKs "GDP" figure to use for "contribution" purposes?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: £2Bn over 15 years?

      I'm sure they have found it, just that its not been added, errr, sorry forgot by the ageing DB, really its all there.

  4. Paul Hovnanian Silver badge

    Well at least ...

    ... you folks are keeping track of it. Over here, when they bust criminals, the sheriff ends up with a new pickup truck.

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
      Holmes

      Re: Only a new pickup truck?

      That's pretty cheap or are you forgetting the Holiday Home on Maui? or the Ivy League College for Junior?

  5. Mike the FlyingRat
    Big Brother

    Lets get smurt and have some fun...

    Why not build a document database with blockchain to make sure we can track updates to the document(s)

    And each document would represent each piece of confiscated goods.

  6. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    "It is now, however, reaching the end of its useful life as it is not conducive to modern expectations of electronic data capture and subsequent analytical filtering and manipulation.”

    Translation: It's outgrown Excel.

  7. IGotOut Silver badge

    I'll do it.

    I'll create a AI blockchain cloud hosted neural network.

    That's my tender, pretty sure I've already won.

    In 5 years time, 3x over budget I'll happily delivery a completely unfit for purpose, half finished piece of crap.....just in time for me to win the bid for its replacement.

    1. Steve K Silver badge

      Re: I'll do it.

      If you can keep it to 2x over budget then I think you've got a decent chance here.

  8. David Lawton

    25 Million could pay the wage of some very talented PHP or ASP + SQL people to make an in house solution, thats web based, so hopefully platform neutral so it would work on Windows, Linux, Mac, iPad OS, Android.

    I'm just more surprised to not see the word CAPITA in the article, who i'm sure would love to make some crappy bloated thing that requires a Windows client and the NET Framework.

    1. JetSetJim Silver badge

      > I'm just more surprised to not see the word CAPITA in the article

      Even if it was, it wouldn't be - it's pronounced CRAPITA around these parts

    2. SWCD

      No guarantee..

      From my experience in SME's nowadays, there's not a massive amount of difference between ensuring availability of Windows/.NET, or whatever browser a "cloud" provider chose to use.

      One business needs to use Internet Explorer, Chrome and Firefox. Then of course the FD has a MacBook. No IE, or dual-booting, or.... :-( Just browser-neutral nowadays would be nice.

  9. batfink Silver badge

    If I were a crimelord

    ...and I saw this, I'd round up a couple of devs and put in a bid for £24,999,99.99.

    That way, I'd make ~£24M profit AND protect my ill-gotten gains. And possibly gain leverage over my competitors.

    Is it too late to change careers?

  10. Screwed

    A TENDER! What's happening? Surely they just secretly award contracts to mates and mates' mates under Covid-19 rules.

    1. JetSetJim Silver badge

      DomCums mate at the chippy isn't quite sure how to make a sreadsheet, so didn't want to touch it. Besides, he's busy sewing new labels onto chef's aprons to say they're PPE with a valid BBE date

  11. Ashto5

    Too Late Cxxxxa Has The Contract

    They can do it for £10 million, fully tested and delivered to specification.

    Small Print: BUT should there need to be any alteration at all, the rate is £10,000 per hour

  12. Americana

    Pre-populated Database

    Presumably the new database will be pre-populated with members of the Government?

  13. Insert sadsack pun here

    They're gonna spend ONE SIXTH of the total recoverable assets on a database to keep track of the assets? That's absurd.

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