back to article Tiny Brit tech firms win spots on £1.84B public sector contract. Kidding, it's the usual suspects

The UK government has awarded a contract worth up to £1.84 billion for vertical applications relevant to local authorities. Winners among the 81 companies awarded places on framework agreement include Accenture, Atos IT Services, Capita Business Services, HCL Technologies, IBM, Softcat, and Palantir. The new framework …

  1. FlamingDeath Silver badge

    It’s a cult, stupid

    Welcome to the world

  2. Potemkine! Silver badge

    Weird, there isn't Fujitsu in that list

    1. druck Silver badge

      They've had to sit it out on the naughty step for this one, but just like the other serial failure merchants, they will be back.

      1. Doogie Howser MD

        As bad as these folks are, it doesn't help that the project steer on the public sector side is usually as wonky as a shopping trolley. At least in my experience, anyway.

    2. Dan Watson

      That’ll be because their total and complete negligence has made them completely unfit to be selected for a government contract.

      And of course by negligence I mean they didn’t donate enough money to the Tory party.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Goverments ...

    ... are the very last organizations that should be using public cloud. As you scale, the benefits of outsourcing diminish, especially of central functions. The fact that cloud providers are so anxious to onboard government organizations, healthcare and big manufacturing should already tell us that these are the very last organizations to benefit from going cloudy. The users who can really benefit from the cloud, from mom&pop shops to SMEs (especially those with bursty IT demands) are, of course, due to their lower and hopefully more efficient use of cloudy resources, the least appealing customers from the provider's perspective.

    A particular problem with Cloud, as opposed to regular outsourcing, is just how difficult it can be to change provider. Regular outsourcing of, e.g., printing, component manufacturing or patient services, can at least be put back out to tender (or, gasp, brought back in house) when the existing provider becomes less competitive. Even the ridiculous UK habit of selling government buildings then leasing them back from the private companies who have bought them looks sensible compared to going "all in" with a particular cloud provider - especially because, as we all know, the chances of this cloud being architected and designed well enough to be moved to another cloud or brought back on premise are minimal. Even in the unlikely event the design permits it, the likelihood is that the bean-counters have probably missed the bean labelled "data egress charges"

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Goverments ...

      "A particular problem with Cloud, as opposed to regular outsourcing, is just how difficult it can be to change provider."

      Never worked in the public sector eh?

      It's no harder to move cloud provider, public sector setups use vetted "preferred supplier" lists. You can't quickly change providers in the public sector, doesn't matter whether its cloud or not...the wheels turn very, very slowly. This is why it ends up costing £50 to change a light bulb. Because once the people that install light bulbs have been approved, they have no competition and they know that vetting another firm to do the same job is expensive and time consuming. The same goes for IT services. It can take years just to move a basic website.

      I was once DV cleared to work for a certain public sector org, it was all very exciting until my first day on the contract when I realised that all the tech I'd be handling was 10 years old (or in some cases even older) and that upgrading it was a long, arduous and painful process since you can't just go to your boss with a great idea. You have to speak to the preferred suppliers and find out what was already on the "approved hardware" list. These suppliers tend to get hardware approved, then they will buy it in bulk, really cheap and sit on it. The price never goes down only up because they know eventually you will buy it.

      1. breakfast Silver badge

        Re: Goverments ...

        It sucks but when the PPE scandal shows that when we don't have carefully vetted suppliers every wide boy, swindler, and grifter in the country with any relationship to the Conservative party (which of course they all have, seeing as that's all the party is by this point) will cash in and rip off the public. At least with approved suppliers the corruption happens slow.

        One way the problem could be addressed would be to drop the dogma that government is inherently inefficient - the inefficiencies come from operating at scale, large businesses are generally quite as inefficient as government. If you had budget for the government to insource a bunch of skilled IT personnel and run their own datacentres, you could potentially offer both more flexibility for innovation and experimentation, and a more considered and strategic approach to public sector services.

        1. John H Woods Silver badge

          Re: Goverments ...

          Exactly. I have worked in many private sectors over the last 30 years, and also in the NHS. Inertia comes with scale, as you say and the NHS (*themselves*, not us big consultancies who were working for them) were, if anything, more efficient in a number of respects than many private sector orgs.

          Unfortunately much of the efficiency seems to be a response to chronic underfunding, having to do more with less, but in general, I entirely concur that the private sector is not, size-for-size, magically more efficient.

        2. sten2012

          Re: Goverments ...

          Completely agree.

          Whether through waste or corruption that money is gone.. And I'd rather it be out of the hands of the corrupt so waste is honestly my preference if there is no chance of meaningfully prosecuting the corrupt. Which clearly there is no appetite for.

          Problem is I suspect there is some corruption in this process too. Still seems the lesser of the evils

  4. BebopWeBop

    Bidding for UK contracts

    Is always interesting. As an SME with (what we consider although others will differ) a very effective and cost-conscious offering, any bids for UK government contracts have been difficult - little if any feedback and no reflection on what we could offer. Conveniently it has been rather easier in mainland Europe (not to say that has been plain sailing either) and I was delighted to have to be in Whitehall as an official provider of a service that the UK government will have to work with if it wants its piss poor trade arrangements to function/. Well, at least our solutions are functional.

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: at least our solutions are functional

      But, my good sir, that is not part of the criteria.

      You must be :

      - expensive

      - buzzword-savvy

      - with plenty of (beginner) consultants

      - and a legal contract that requires a legal department full of permanent lawyers to draft

      - oh, and have an employee who is vaguely related to someone in government helps (a lot)

      Having something that works is neither here nor there.

      1. David 132 Silver badge
        Unhappy

        Re: at least our solutions are functional

        You forgot:

        - a proven track record of working with Government

        (Note, having failed and f*cked up and gone vastly over-budget time and time again is still a "proven track record" by Civil Service metrics, so still counts.)

      2. Binraider Silver badge

        Re: at least our solutions are functional

        And legally (in the UK) you can't be excluded from a tender on past performance!

      3. Dan Watson

        Re: at least our solutions are functional

        That’s a slanderous comment suggesting you need to be related to a politician to get a contract.

        You can be their pub landlord…

  5. Julian 8

    same old = same old crap results for a lot of wasted money

    Perhaps the whitehall bean counters should come on here and read the real reviews of these companies

  6. Plest Silver badge
    Facepalm

    "jobs for the boys"

    Nothing new to see here, the usual bullshit spewing hogs have their snouts in the various free-money government troughs!

  7. David Lewis 2
    Trollface

    Prediction

    It will be late and cost double. Yes I’m an optimist.

  8. Roger Kynaston

    Palantir

    is that so local authorities can see what is in your rubbish bin?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Palantir

      It so local authorities can predict what's in you rubbish bin based on your Facebook likes.

  9. ecofeco Silver badge

    Team FAIL for the win!

    So how much will they piss away this time? I'm guessing a record amount.

  10. breakfast Silver badge
    Holmes

    Tiny Brit Tech Firms

    The headline here gave me a little burst of nostalgia for the late nineties, when my brother worked for Tiny Computers.

  11. very angry man

    the idea is they ease the procurement process and get better prices for the public purse.

    you guys are f888ed now

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