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Sunday, June 29, 2014

The ICT crowd

An article from a few days ago in the Independent details the shocking cost of ICT contracts for central government and local councils.

They say that private IT companies are being paid almost £5 billion a year by the taxpayer to run Government computer networks:

An analysis of contracts across Whitehall shows that the American computer giant Hewlett-Packard alone was paid £140m a month last year by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) and the Ministry of Justice for computer services. 

Another IT firm, Capgemini, holds contracts worth £1bn a year to supply and maintain computers across central and local government. 

In total the Government paid £10bn to its top 20 contractors in 2013. Almost half of this was spent on IT.

The sums paid out to major international IT firms dwarf the £2.2bn paid to ‘outsourcing’ companies like Serco and G4S, who have been subjected to the most ferocious public criticism over their state contracts.

They add that overall there are at least eight IT suppliers receiving more than £100m every year from a single government department, and at least 15 suppliers receiving more than £100m in annual revenues from multiple Government departments. The largest contractor – the American IT giant Hewlett-Packard – has contracts worth £1.7bn a year.

The Government acknowledge that they are not getting value for money but say that their hands are tied as they are tied into long-term contracts signed under the last Labour administration.

Given that the Welsh Government are due to re-tender their computer contract within the next few years, it will be interesting to see how they fare in driving down the cost to the taxpayer.
Comments:
How about seriously looking at moving to open source solutions - creating an indigenous IT support infrastructure rather than being tied into expensive contracts.
 
That is not so straightforward for big ICT networks as the prime feature any ICT manager will look for from their system will be stability and control. These features are less available on open source than on bigger commercial systems.
 
But Apache (an open source facility) drives a large number of commercial and government web-sites.
 
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