back to article UK government faces £17.5M shortfall from UKCloud liquidation

The UK Cabinet Office has confirmed it is £17.5 million out of pocket after underwriting the official receiver of UKCloud, which went into liquidation in 2022. In a response to the Parliament's public administration watchdog, Catherine Little, permanent secretary of the Cabinet Office, said the liquidation of the Brit-based …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ho Hum .....


    Yet another ... 'throw money at it, until it goes away' exercise !!!

    Perfectly OK as the money is *only* £17.5 Million ...... by HS2 standards 'Pocket change' and so much 'value' as well !!!

    How does it take 2 years+ to liquidate a company !!!???

    Does anyone 'pay' for yet another failure .... not money but responsibility/career/etc

    'Lessons learnt' to be filed in the 'round bin' with all the other lessons learnt from every failed project !!!

    No doubt a group of expert consultants were commissioned to create the 'Lessons learnt' documentation, which will be read sometime ..... never and sure as hell never taken to heart !!!

    Corrupt, inept and untouchable seems to be the basis for working on these projects, nice little earner if you can find it !!!


    1. PeeKay

      Re: Ho Hum .....

      "How does it take 2 years+ to liquidate a company !!!???"

      Quite simple really - UKCloud had a rather large section of running inside its' datacenters - I know, because I worked there. I'd imagine it would take that long just to migrate all of those services across to new suppliers - some of these would not have been easy (Genomics being a good example of this using massive HPC machines) to achieve.

      Looks like I got out while the going was good (2018)...

    2. steviebuk Silver badge

      Re: Ho Hum .....

      We had a "consultant" come in at my old place to do whatever it is they wanted him to do (I forget now). He went round the whole IT department asking us what our ideas were etc, so he could get a "better understanding of the project". He then took our ideas, made them his own and presented it to the upper management who thought he was amazing. We were all pissed as our ideas had been ignored every time we mentioned them. When those same ideas came out of the overpaid consultants mouth, they were apparently now gold.

      Fucks me right off. Nothing ever changes in IT, its still like this today.

      1. Not An AC

        Re: Ho Hum .....

        This posts hits me hard - same thing has happened to me

      2. JimC

        Yes but:...

        That's exactly what you pay a consultant for. A good consultant finds out what's going on from the people who know, takes the good ideas, discards the bad ones, and presents a complete package to senior management in a form they can understand.

  2. alain williams Silver badge

    Typical government fail

    Here was an opportunity to build a UK owned and run cloud. This would have kept UK data in the UK, kept UK money in the UK and built up a UK skills base.

    What happened was the usual lack of joined up strategy where government departments used USA businesses (Google, AWS, Microsoft, ...) so profits go to the the USA as well as all our secrets (due to the Could Act).

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Typical government fail - No, they were rubbish

      I work for a UK Government Agency (hence AC). We were pushed to use Skyscape (as was) due to the 'discount'.

      We wasted more man hours on their rubbish implementation and lost more to downtime in 6 months than in all the time since the service was migrated to AWS - not long after they rebranded (and they didn't even get that right).

      All the data was public domain anyway so we really didn't need to go with that shower,

      1. Roland6 Silver badge

        Re: Typical government fail - No, they were rubbish

        Yes, typical government fail, both in awarding the contract to the “cheapest” and then failing to manage delivery.

        The other failure, is the conservatives, much prefer to contract with the big US tech companies whilst wingeing about the lack of a UK industry.

        Given the size of the government IT estate, there is room for the government to incubate several (potentially 3) UK cloud providers…

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Typical government fail - No, they were rubbish

          I said recently to a contract that was awarded to fuck whits "You get what you pay for. Weren't they the cheapest bid?". I got the "shut the fuck up look" and then bullshit excuses "Actually they also did blah blah". It was all bullshit. They went with the cheapest bid and now trying to save face. Woe betide anyone that points it out the reality. I'm sick of the constant "Don't rock the boat" mentality at companies. Its why the fucking Post Office and Horizon scandal was allowed to happen. And they are still trying to do the same shit and now with the "fraud stamps" charge that they've had to suspend.

          1. JimC

            Re: Weren't they the cheapest bid?

            Well of course they were. That's procurement rules. You have to go with the cheapest bid unless you can demonstrate that its not going to work.

    2. elsergiovolador Silver badge

      Re: Typical government fail

      If the party is not making money for its donors, then it becomes a chocolate teapot.

  3. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

    Bad client indicators, #23: "Here's £300,000, our source code and our licences. Please, take this project off our hands!"

    I wonder how much that codebase is worth? Does it meet the latest specs for the project, or have they changed so much that nothing is salvageable? That's the question the next guys will have to spend time deciding.

    1. FirstTangoInParis Bronze badge

      > That's the question the next guys will have to spend time deciding.

      The 160 likely different data sources I'm sure will be a contributing factor. 'Data Sources' may include dusty old bits of paper and stuff in people's heads who left the organisation five years back, as well as a collection of weird and wonderful spreadsheets, Word documents, and $deity knows what else software packages that were used, all representing the data in different ways with no uniform standard. I guess building the underlying software for the system was completed in a couple of days tops and then the fun started with trying to obtain and comprehend all 160 submissions (wonder if there weren't 160 and a good 1/3 or so of them still have to supply said data sets).

      I would not be surprised in the slightest if the supplier tired of trying to get all the data it needed and was only too glad to throw in the towel.

  4. s. pam Silver badge

    I know who to give the work to --

    I'm sure both Crapita and Fujeetshow are drooling at the proposition of sucking more cash off of the UK.Gov teat!

    After all, we know they're experts at (mis) managing projects for an ontime and on budget!

  5. johnB

    Not all bad

    But at least they were "carbon neutral", so an _important_ target was met

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Not all bad

      Don't get me started with that. This was bought up recently "Moving to the cloud brings down our carbon footprint so it will be great for us". I said "Not really, you're just pushing it onto someone else in the cloud" and the reply "Yeah we don't care about that, we can put that down as 3rd party problem".

  6. nijam Silver badge

    > ... "a robust lessons learnt exercise" ...

    Somehow I doubt it.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Printed out and put on display for anyone who wants to read about it in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying 'Beware of the Leopard'.

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      It's probably similar to the way military planners are said to plan to fight the last war.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No shit Sherlock

    “The public spending watchdog said that in 2018, Cabinet Office announced InSite as its replacement. "The Cabinet Office told us that it considered commercially available systems in 2018 but believed off-the-shelf options, at the time, were not capable of receiving data from 160 different bodies across government," a PAC report said in December 2022.

    But the bespoke system soon hit trouble in its development. Citing staffing problems, Landmark Solutions did not complete the InSite project, even when granted an extension.

    In her missive, Little said "a robust lessons learnt exercise" had been carried out. "This identified a number of required improvements including the need for in-house technology expertise," she said.

    Following this exercise, she said OGP procured a commercial off-the-shelf technology solution from Planon in June 2023, around five years after the project kicked off. “

    Ya think ?!

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