back to article LOL ;-) UK govt 2 pay £39m 4 txt msgs 4 less thn 2 yrs

The UK government has let nearly £40m in contracts to a single supplier for a text message, email, and "letter management" platform. According to a contract award notice published this week, MMGRP Limited was handed £21.6m to support GOV.UK Notify, a multi-channel digital communications platform. "These messages will …

  1. DJV Silver badge
    Unhappy

    Sigh...

    I'm sure it's worth every single penny of OUR money!

    1. Senor Beavis

      Re: Sigh...

      Probably a fair bit cheaper than each department sending only letters in far greater quantities, on individually-negotiated supplier contracts. Think of the trees! (And the cost of postage...)

    2. RegGuy1 Silver badge

      Re: Sigh...

      Isn't it the Tories who keep banging on about value for money about taxpayer's money?

      Hmm. So come the next election, they can be reminded of this. Not that it matters. They'll simply make some fantasy accusations about immigrants, and the old, white racists will shout, "yeah, you should be more careful with taxpayers' money, but we hate immigrants," so the Tories will get in again.

      As for Labour, well we don't want them. They too will spend lots of taxpayers' money, but on the poor. FFS why waste it on those that have nowt. Tories, Tories, Tories...

      'Twas ever thus in this scummy country of ours.

      That's my prediction.

      1. noboard

        Re: Sigh...

        Err you do realise it was Labour who bailed the banks out as soon as it looked like rich people may become poor? The tories shouldn't be allowed anywhere near government, but neither should any of the main political parties. The sooner the electorate work this out, the better for everyone.

        1. Andy 97

          Re: Sigh...

          What's the alternative?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Sigh...

            No-one voting. The embarrassment that a party got in on such small numbers might be our only chance to rejig the election system.

            Of course this will never happen because us plebs are too worried that our little opinion vote will be wasted.

          2. da39a3ee5e6b4b0d3255bfef95601890afd80709
            Unhappy

            Re: Sigh...

            The alternative is campaigning for "None of the above" to be added to voting slips in a General Election. This forces each party to realise that none of them have a mandate to govern us as "least worst" is not something the UK voting population enjoys particularly much and which we've been stuck with for the last ohhhh ..... 30 years? Destroying the two-party pendulum will help tremendously. Giving "cheaper beer" away to win votes, while having a little policy on page 76 of your manifesto saying "we will introduce laws restricting your freedom based on data we don't understand" isn't an appealing option IMHO.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Sigh...

              Or just turn up to vote and spoil the ballot paper. Performs pretty much the same function.

              1. Sulky

                Re: Sigh...

                Unfortunately it doesn't, politicians just ignore them as "idiots who can't fill out a ballot paper".

                Similar to none of the above is the vote RON campaign. Re open nominations. We ran one at at a students Union many years ago and Ron was a lifesize cardboard cut out of the guy from the John Smith's adverts "Top Bombing!" Not all the candidates were overly impressed, an abuse of the democratic process according to some. We did get a few votes though.

      2. martyn.hare
        Megaphone

        They’re both the same when given power

        Labour bans hentai, tortes ban spanking/facesitting

        Labour implements disappearing [of terrorists legislation], Tories strengthen it

        Tories and Labour both backed remaining in the EU then did an about face post-referendum

        Tories and Labour both backed bailing out the banks when they screwed us over

        Tories and Labour both backed jailing people for applied use of unbreakable encryption

        Tories and Labour both back first past the post as a voting mechanism to this day

        Seriously…the only difference is how they operate as a shadow cabinet!

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: They’re both the same when given power

          "Labour bans hentai"

          What now?!?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: They’re both the same when given power

            I'm just even more surprised if the Tories banned spanking/facesitting. That's an evening's entertainment for a lot of their, uhh, [Mm]embers spoiled, shurely?

            (Different AC)

  2. SanityChecker

    Seems like a good contract to have

    Only needs one employee to run, a parent company in Gibraltar and a director in Jersey. Can you let me know next time there's a similar contract going up for grabs.

    1. Mike Richards Silver badge

      Re: Seems like a good contract to have

      Don't forget to claim the mandatory Tory Party membership as a business expense.

      1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

        Re: Seems like a good contract to have

        Isn't that a conflict of interest? Instead of paying for party membership, you pay a donation.

    2. Adrian 4 Silver badge

      Re: Seems like a good contract to have

      You just need to join the bidding list, aka the Tory party donation list

      1. Roland6 Silver badge

        Re: Seems like a good contract to have

        According to Rishi, this can be achieved by hanging around the water cooler.

    3. 2+2=5 Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Seems like a good contract to have

      > Only needs one employee to run, a parent company in Gibraltar and a director in Jersey.

      from the fine article:

      The contract – which offers public-sector employed users to send emails, text messages, and letters to the great unwashed – is set to last just 9 months from 1 July 2021 to 31 March 2022.

      How do you propose to send the letters then? Print them out at home and post them from Gibraltar?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Seems like a good contract to have

        Moonpig, innit?

      2. DJO Silver badge

        Re: Seems like a good contract to have

        How do you propose to send the letters then?

        Easy peasy, you subcontract the mail handling.

      3. elsergiovolador Silver badge

        Re: Seems like a good contract to have

        How do you propose to send the letters then?

        You just hire someone on inside IR35 contract - no need to worry about pesky employment laws and minimum wage.

      4. JimboSmith Silver badge

        Re: Seems like a good contract to have

        How do you propose to send the letters then? Print them out at home and post them from Gibraltar?

        Personally I wouldn't do any letter printing at all in Gibraltar or anywhere else. I'd subcontract Crapita or somebody to be doing that for me. I'd also register a company in Anguilla (not Gibraltar*) with the ultimate parent company in the Caribbean island of Nevis. That's to allow me to obfuscate my ownership as Nevis is really bad about transparency. I'd also buy a banking license in Anguilla...........I've not given this any real thought you understand

        *As much as I like Gibraltar and had a lovely holiday there, they have 10% corporation tax, Anguilla has 0%.

      5. RLWatkins

        Re: Seems like a good contract to have

        Simple enough. There are myriad companies which, given a document and a mailing list, will print copies of the document, stuff them into envelopes, add postage, and mail them.

        I've worked for one. It isn't expensive, especially at large volume.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Seems like a good contract to have

      "a director in Jersey"

      Did you look up the registered officers for MMGRP Limited at Companies House. Because you'll never guess ....

  3. Irongut Silver badge

    Something thay could have procured from Twillio, or a similar service, for a tiny fraction of the cost.

    MMGRP are probably using Twillio as it is.

    1. Robert Grant Silver badge

      Yup. So easy to set this up.

  4. Andy 97

    While I understand people making a mistake (we all do) this is only the tip of the iceberg.

    Public sector management operate with impunity, safe in the knowledge that there's no day of judgement if they really mess things-up.

    An index-linked, final salary pension awaits, nobody will rock the boat and nobody will question upper management. Can you imagine if the people concerned worked for one of the cloudy (or OTT) companies? They'd be on their way home before mid-morning coffee.

    The worst part is that it's all of us that will ultimately pay for the mistake (and their relaxed retirement), while scratching around to fund our own.

    Often these gaff-prone boneheads will obtain a peerage (of similar honour) for their years steering their ship into the rocks.

    1. Terry 6 Silver badge

      You say that. But in parallel to this Dixons/DSG have just won a court case over their failure to protect public financial and identity data, having paid a chicken feed ICO fine. And anyone who's actually had any dealings with a large company when things go worng knows full well how they avoid any kind of accountability (or even contact). So there is true impunity. Whereas, despite those assertions, most public employees are fully accountable, doing a professional job like anyone else under and accountable to management like anyone else. It's a job. Like anyone else's.

      And the mandarins who make these kinds of decisions come out of the same public school+Oxbridge bunch as their politician masters and a good many CEOs. Which route they take seems to be pretty random, and frequently interchangeable. Today's mandarin or Politician is tomorrow's Company Director, or vice versa.

      As to that bit about their pensions - an irrelevance that simply identifies a general attitude to public servants. This seems like it's envy. The public servants take a pay and conditions contract like anyone else on recruitment. We can all apply for such jobs, but chose not to ( or were rejected).. Theirs includes a nice pension and decent job security, too, but pretty crap pay. TBH most of us wouldn't want to take that job, even the higher level roles, because we can earn a damned sight more in private employment.

  5. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

    MMGRP

    "MMGRP Limited is the registered name of MMG, "a global leader in Secure Enterprise A2P SMS Messaging,"

    If they've got a contract from the Tories, I'm guessing they're also a global leader in pizza and non-functional PPE in North Essex? And provision of ferries between Brighton and London.

  6. Howard Sway Silver badge

    Over a million quid a month?

    The advertised price for phone deals with "unlimited" texts ranges between £10 and £20 a month : buy one of those and there's your texts sorted.

    Email is free to send, you just need a 10 year old server as a full time mail server : that'll manage millions per hour.

    Next : mail merge. If only there was some kind of off the shelf package that could do this.................

    1. Danny 14 Silver badge

      Re: Over a million quid a month?

      lets see. So you intended sending a few millions SMS from a handful of domestic sims? There are clauses in domestic contracts against commercial work simply because that is what would happen. Business SMS are still paid per SMS and are sent via API as a batch of 800k SMS take time to send. Good luck send those through a mobile phone SMS.

      A 10 year old email server sending government level bulk email would not cope. What sort of connection would you use attached to a 10 year old server? How do you intend updating said server? Governments tend to send 24hr a day not just in office times.

      Mailmerge to a hundred customers isnt too bad. Now try sending 10million letters for child tax credit reminders. Again, the software to do this is not consumer office related.

      This isnt a small bakery we are talking about.

  7. HildyJ Silver badge
    WTF?

    Daniel Layton

    Dun & Bradstreet lists the MMGRP, Ltd. as having one employee, presumably it's director Daniel Layton.

    On their (his) website they offer four references - the Passport Office, Laura Ashley, Papa Johns, and Gamesys (which I have included below).

    "MMG has been the sole provider of mobile marketing (SMS) Services to Gamesys since 2012 in the form of their web based platforms and API connections for 10 of our brands including JackpotJoy, Virgin Games, Monopoly Casino, StarSpins and Botemania . . ."

    Definitely a company I would pick for GOV.UK Notify.

    1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

      Re: Daniel Layton

      Any donations to political parties?

  8. Naich

    Troughing

    They will be Tory party donors or friends of someone in government. This government likes spunking money at their friends.

  9. Roger Kynaston Silver badge
    Flame

    money for old rope with a muppet thrown in

    Just spin up some kermit instances in AWS and charge the muppets £40M

  10. CorrectionAnon

    Entire article is wrong.

    Bad journalism.

    Contract has been ongoing for years. And there is more than one provider.

    How do you think texts get delivered.

    And re: other providers data protection rules, and transfer of data outside of the UK.

    I note the service hasn’t had any issues on Gov Notify so it must be working perfectly .

    1. Danny 14 Silver badge

      without knowing volume you cant tell if it is value for money or not.

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