back to article UK Home Office tenders £5m for a supplier to help it greenlight IT projects. Yes, you read that correctly

The UK's Home Office is tendering to recruit a supplier to help manage the selection of its IT projects, leading to concerns over conflict of interest. The notice published in the public sector Digital Marketplace is seeking a company to help deliver and operate the "discovery-as-a-service" capability for the "Innovation - Law …

  1. Mike 137 Silver badge

    Best choice of adviser?

    "The UK's Home Office is tendering to recruit a supplier to help manage the selection of its IT projects,"

    What's really needed is a non-supplier - an adviser that can be completely objective about the pros and cons of what they're advising on. However the Home Office approach is common. It prevails within government and quango advisory panels on technologies, security, risk and many other critical areas. The general rule is that vendor representatives dominate the composition of said panels. Consequently, the status quo usually gets maintained at the expense of necessary change.

    1. monty75

      Re: Best choice of adviser?

      > What's really needed is a non-supplier

      Call Chris Grayling. His experience of finding ferry non-suppliers is tailor made for this role.

      1. Mike 137 Silver badge

        Re: Best choice of adviser?

        @monty75

        In all fairness I didn't say "complete arse" - I said "non-supplier", meaning someone without any vested interest in what's being supplied, but assuming competence (maybe optimistically).

    2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: Best choice of adviser?

      And the independent adviser recommends a course of leeches. This is has nothing to do with his posiition on the board of Leechs'R'Us.

  2. Howard Sway Silver badge

    possible conflicts of interest, but no safeguards have been put in place

    Reading this weekend about all the oinking currently going on at the financial trough in government and elsewhere, one could start to believe that the safeguards have been deliberately omitted in order to make lucrative conflicts of interest easier to waft through, as long as the right people's interest is ensured.

  3. RockBurner

    Have they given it to Dido Harding yet?

  4. ThatOne Silver badge
    Devil

    Woot! Woot!

    Hear the whistle? The gravy train is entering the station.

    As Howard Sway said further up, it's all just a way to make sure all the right backs get correctly scratched.

  5. Chris G Silver badge

    The World is rapidly going down the plughole of corporate governance, it seems to be approaching the point where the vortex will be so strong nothing will escape it.

    Politicians of all colours appear to be aiding and abetting the process with the view of securing their post political futures.

    National Security now in the eyes of many leaders is not about the preservation of national identity or culture, it's about securing assets.

    I suspect the 'Save the NHS' slogan is in alignment with that mentality.

  6. don't you hate it when you lose your account Silver badge
    Facepalm

    My contempt gland

    Just blew up. Wish I could use the joke icon but that would be wasted on this

  7. JDPower666

    So they're looking for a company to help choose companies? Why don't they just put a tender out for a company to help them choose the company that will help them choose companies? etc etc etc

    1. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge

      And when everything goes TITSUP

      "We have since fired the people responsible for hiring the people who just fired the people actually responsible for the f*** up

    2. Mike 137 Silver badge

      So they're looking for a company to help choose companies?

      Quite possibly a belated admission of incompetence. "If you can't do it, outsource".

      Unfortunately, if you can't do it and outsources, you have no means of validating the quality of the outsource service's performance. The only safe way to outsource is to outsource something you're thoroughly competent at and keep checking the results. That means the only valid reason for outsourcing is resource saving - certainly not handing over "responsibility", as you can't. The responsibility remains yours (unless of course you're a government, when you have no responsibility at all for anything).

      1. Cliffwilliams44 Bronze badge

        Re: So they're looking for a company to help choose companies?

        The whole point is to "Cover their arse!" When the projects go tits up those in charge i.e. government can stand back and say "We just followed the consultant recommendations regarding hiring the consultant for the project!" "Not our fault!"

        I've seen the same thing in IT for years! Even though the IT group has all the knowledge and talent to perform the project without issue IT management insist on bringing in a consultant so they have someone to blame (and sue!) when the project goes badly. In my experience 9 out of 10 consultancy project do end badly!

  8. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    Oh sure

    "The Demand Management process will ensure that all work meets the needs and priorities of the Home Office in the most appropriate and efficient way to deliver value for money "

    Yes, because UK Government IT projects have a stellar record for meeting needs and priorities.

    Well, the needs and priorities of the snouts that have access to the trough, that is.

  9. HildyJ Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Makes perfect sense

    Assessing a prospective contractor is difficult.

    You need to determine how close a friend they are to the PM, individual Cabinet Members, and individuals in the Commons and Lords.

    Then you need to assess how supportive each one of these is of the PM and, for those on the edge, whether the PM wants to reward them with more money or punish them by shutting down the tap.

    Once you've done those assessments, you need to factor in previous contractor awards to make sure that no pig is hogging the money trough.

    1. hoola Silver badge

      Re: Makes perfect sense

      Given the hoops we have to go through for the simplest or procurements I can see exactly how this has come about.

      From my experience we appear to spend more time worrying about what the unsuccessful tender responses might do than whether the successful response is fit for purpose. This results in enormous amounts of wasted time, effort and crippling inefficiency. Very simply purchases get turned into a circus that takes 3 months instead of a week or two.

      Has anyone any experience of a company who submitted an unsuccessful tender challenging or taking people to court?

      This is just the procurement gravy-train on steriods.

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