back to article Capgemini scores £150m contract to help Student Loan Company overcome its IT problems 5 years after £50m superfail

Capgemini has won a £150m contract with the Student Loan Company (SLC) as the non-profit looks to write the next chapter in a troubled history with information technology. The outsourcing and consultancy firm is to become a "Strategic Partner for Platform Delivery and Technology Services" to the non-departmental public body, …

  1. Mike 137 Silver badge

    Realism

    Given all the expenditure and waste, the student loans scheme is clearly not a way of recovering the costs of education. It looks much more like social engineering on the basis of "don't ever let anyone get anything free of charge".

    1. Persona Silver badge

      Re: Realism

      don't ever let anyone get anything free of charge

      Well someone has to pay for it, so why not at least try to get the person who has benefited be the one who is taxed extra to pay for it. Student loans are quite like an extra band of income tax, though plenty of "students" never earn enough to have to pay it back.

      1. Red Ted
        FAIL

        Re: Realism

        Someone has to pay for it

        Yes someone does, but if the government want a highly educated workforce then shouldn't they be funding the education system as they will benefit from the higher taxes they can collect from the more highly skilled (thus better paid) workforce in the future.

        The phrase here is: "free at point of use".

        1. Persona Silver badge

          Re: Realism

          if the government want a highly educated workforce then shouldn't they be funding the education system"

          The government doesn't fund it: the tax payer does. So you as a tax payer either pay extra income tax so some random student can do a surf science degree or you can pay that same "tax" to pay back your student loan for doing some useful technical degree. Alternatively you can decide that a degree won't help you get a better paid job and hence not pay for yours or that surf science students degree.

          1. MrReynolds2U

            Re: Realism

            I was in the first year that the modern student loan system was introduced but I was also able to get a grant like those who came before me. It took me a while but I paid it off when I eventually found a decently paying gig. I had 5 years of loans that roughly equated to 1 year (9k) under the current system.

            I think grants for UK students should be brought back for high-need (not high-demand) courses. So there is a financial incentive to study STEM etc. The grants and fees need to be proportional to the costs, demand and quality of the course and its qualification. And yes, grants should be means-tested.

            The current system of excessive charges for all courses just creates additional government debt without the realistic expectation of students on second tier courses repaying their fees. The Blair idea of everyone going to Uni was idealistic. Everyone should have the opportunity if it's right for them and their career. Not everyone needs a degree and the associated debt.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Realism

              Obviously student loans are a method to support bank profits. 6.5% interest for 25 years then written off is a nice chunk of risk free profit for the banks.

              It's a total scam. But what do you expect?

      2. Malcolm 5

        Re: Realism

        The high interest rate that stops most students ever paying off the loan is one of the things that makes it more like an extra band of tax

      3. cantankerous swineherd

        Re: Realism

        education is a public good.

        1. Nifty Silver badge

          Re: Realism

          Education is a public good but up to which point?

          Do hobby PhDs count?

          Vocational training is a public good as is dentistry and the opthalmic services.

          How many are subsidised? I suspect some are subject to VAT.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Realism

        "why not at least try to get the person who has benefited be the one who is taxed extra to pay for it?"

        In the good old days, nobody had to try to do that because it happened automatically. University graduates got better paying jobs. So they paid proportionately more in income tax and NI. They paid more in indirect taxes (VAT, fuel duty, stamp duty, etc) too because they had more money to spend.

      5. John Miles

        Re: why not at least try to get the person who has benefited

        From what I see the biggest group who benefited by increasing the amount of people heading to university is those who can claim they have lowered youth unemployment and those in charge of universities.

        If the person gained benefit from going to college then likely they will be paying with higher taxes over their working lives as they will gain better paid employment - but this is becoming less likely than in past. You'd expect that under normal supply and demand when you increase supply, now add in the increasing tendcy to shift expensive non management jobs to lower cost regions and you are hitting falling value in degrees - so I am not convinced degrees are generally cost effective for the person studying for them now.

        Businesses should be gaining benefit for better educated workers - but they seem reluctant to pay for it now.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: why not at least try to get the person who has benefited

          Businesses should be gaining benefit for better educated workers - but they seem reluctant to pay for it now.

          What benefit does Asda get from hiring media studies and sociology graduates to stack the shelfs? Mind you, I suppose those sorts of worthless degrees don't count towards a better educated workforce that any employer would want to pay for.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: why not at least try to get the person who has benefited

            At least the sociology students understand why they are stacking shelves.

          2. John Miles

            Re: why not at least try to get the person who has benefited

            And there lies an issue with our education establishment - it is geared towards number of people on courses and makes no concern whether those courses have any value to society or the people on them.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: why not at least try to get the person who has benefited

              > And there lies an issue with our education establishment - it is geared towards number of people on courses and makes no concern whether those courses have any value to society or the people on them.

              But...but...but... it was Tony Blair's and Labour's proudest achievement, surely?

      6. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Realism

        In the olden days a University education was a privilege for the few, hence it could be funded. Now every Polytechnic and Further Education college is a “University”, with basket weaving degrees available to everyone it’s not viable to publicly fund it.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: every Polytechnic and Further Education college is a “University”,

          And they all need their own senior "leadership" (administrative?) staff, many of whom are paying themselves more than the Prime Minister's salary, just as Ye Olde Universities are doing (hello Birmingham, for example).

          Another thing about Polytechnics and FE colleges as originally established was that they were under Local Education Authority control, which meant that they couldn't always be trusted to follow Conservative Central Office directions.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    SLC is a nonprofit? That 6.5% interest rate must be going straight to the banks then.

    1. Missing Semicolon Silver badge

      The interest payments help towards paying the stupid IT bills....

    2. MrReynolds2U

      The interest rate covers the fact that lots of loans don't get paid back.

      After a few years, the loans are sold on to other companies. Mine were sold on to CreditSafe once I started making payments. They then ignored my every attempt to defer once my pay dropped below the threshold.

      And non-profits can still spend potential profits on wages, investments or hold reserves.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It makes sense really. Why complete government and government related I.T. projects (I think student loans are government related but not 100% sure) when you can pass your failure's round each other for more cash. Why pay 50m for failure?

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge
      Trollface

      Especially when you can pay 150m.

      1. You aint sin me, roit
        Trollface

        What makes you think that's the final cost?

        Change requests...

        At least Widow Dido isn't in charge. She'd spend billions... and spunk graduates' personal details across the internet.

  4. Gordon 10 Silver badge
    Flame

    WTAF

    AFAIK The SLC has one job to do. Finance and recover student loans over a generational period.

    How the actual f*ck does it have an IT estate in the £100's m cost range?

    1. macjules

      Re: WTAF

      Incompetent CEOs do not grow on trees you know.

      1. juice Silver badge

        Re: WTAF

        > Incompetent CEOs do not grow on trees you know.

        From past experience, I'd agree. They seem to grow in vast fields, stretching as far as the eye can see...

      2. Cavey Wavey

        Re: WTAF

        Funny the opposite seems to be true in my experience for CEO's and especially CTO's The ones I've been lumbered with seem to believe their new magic clothes are made of is the finest cloth that only the cleverest and most cultured can see. Coming up with gems like "we need to move everything to the cloud asap", without appraising the merits of doing so on a case by case basis.. or "outsourcing this team will help us be more dynamic" without considering the years of internal knowledge that will be lost. sorry for the bitterness in my tone, but it feels like no one at the top actually cares about the firms they work for anymore.

    2. MrReynolds2U

      Re: WTAF

      I completely agree. I have no idea why they would need to spend that on IT systems. Government IT procurement seems to be a factor of 10 or even 100 higher than necessary.

  5. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

    robust and agile?

    In my experience those tend to be mutually exclusive.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Cap G?

    Cap G you say? So instead of failing to re-architect their IT internally, they can now fail to re-architect their IT into Azure. Hurrah! trebles all round!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Cap G?

      You're assuming Capg (note - one word, they hate it when you get it wrong) have skills to rearchitect anything. I wouldn't trust them to run a bath.

      On the upside, at least my son now stands a better than average chance of his student loan details getting lost.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Cap G?

        Keep on grinding that axe, oh bitter competitor.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Cap G?

          If by "bitter competitor" you mean "less than impressed customer", you're on the right lines.

      2. logicalextreme

        Re: Cap G?

        Yeah, I'm hoping my grant details have disappeared somewhere along the way. Given how hilariously they screwed up my loan I wouldn't be surprised.

        Replying to SLC's full immediate repayment demand with my own calculations suggesting that perhaps they owed me money, and having them sheepishly agree, is the sort of delight I suspect I'll rarely be able to relish again.

  7. Missing Semicolon Silver badge

    How hard can it be?

    Really? £200m hard?

    What's the site hit rate?

    1. xyz

      Re: How hard can it be?

      I know.. Effin database, a front end if some sort and some management gubbins in the middle. Even with a legacy database export and redundancy, this is as basic as it gets. I doubt it's even big.

      1. david bates

        Re: How hard can it be?

        You would be amazed.

        I'm currently using a government portal to register products. The EU portal was horrible... The GB portal... Well....

        It asks I've question per page

        It does allow you to go back and change the details on previous pages

        It does not use the questions you've answered to filter responses it presents you with later on.

        You can add up to 10 images, but you have to add them all at once... It's a one shot deal.

        And, hilariously in 2021, it does not allow you to edit the record you have just created in any way. You can delete it, but you can't edit it.

        Apparently the record editing is coming. And they're working VERY HARD on it.

        As it stands the website would fail as an assignment in an A level computer course. God alone knows how much it cost.

        I can only assume someone's 16-year-old had a morning free to roam this together...

  8. Sparkacus

    Itemise

    I can’t wrap my head around these type of figures. I don’t suppose someone with insider knowledge could break this down?

    I would never have guessed the SLC being such a complex beast. I can only assume that hiring a group of well paid developers, devops etc is too difficult…..

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Trollface

    Merci ...

    ... Les Rosbeef!

    HeHawHeHawHeHaw!!!!!

    1. 2+2=5 Silver badge

      Re: Merci ...

      I presume you had to post that AC as the handle "Racist Stereotypes R Us" was already taken?

      1. logicalextreme

        Re: Merci ...

        To be fair it does have the troll icon next to it, and the French aren't a race.

        Marks deducted as it should be "les rosbifs", however.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Merci ...

        Allo Allo repeats been banned on UK TV then? And has Eddie Izzard been de-platformed from doing some of his standup too? You need to look up what racism is.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Design (policy) to deliver

    Frankly, if instead of student loans, a graduate tax had been created, we wouldn't need to worry about half this SLC crap. Instead, we've created an increasingly large administrative burden off of a large number of people going to university, but a small proportion ever paying much off.

    Whatever the merits of charging graduates for their education, the present system isn't especially progressive in taxation terms. Those who earn the most pay off their loan most easily, while everyone else hold loans that are likely to expire before so much as half of the "loan" is paid.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Capgemini scores £150m contract to help Student Loan Company

    so, 9K a year for your tuition fees pays towards 150m quid deal to 'overcome problems' with a loan system. And that 9K per year system was set up when? And how much money has it cost already? Me know nothing... and what's 150K, sorry, 150M between friends with no oversight in sight.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Other stories you might like

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022