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back to article Finance watchdog warns about being 'seduced' by IT partnerships

The Audit Commission says councils must be not be "seduced by the warm language of partnerships". Local government IT partnerships intended to overcome the drawbacks of traditional contracts, often fail to live up to expectations, an Audit Commission report (pdf) reveals. In an examination of so-called strategic service …

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Fear can't hurt you any more than a dream

The relationship between the public and private sector is not necessarily an easy one, and faults and blame can be levelled on both sides in many cases. So many things happen between two or more parties that brings failure to a project; from badly composed terms of reference through to a simple refusal to communicate properly, too many times the needs and desires of a local governement are dashed through the failure to deliver.

To continually point the finger of blame at the supplier is a bit rich however. Local Authorities are just as guilty of unprofessional behaviour through amateurish contracts and negotiation, a complete lack of understanding about technology and an unwillingness to follow due diligence in understanding just exactly what they really need and can realistically get. Throw in needlessly complex - and easily ignored - procurement processes and you have a recipe for failure and public spending abuse.

The awful thing is that a proper, radical overhaul of the entire procurement and negotiation process is massively overdue, but it won't happen as it will (a) be against the interests of the large suppliers and (b) it will result in money being saved and public sector jobs lost or moved elsewhere - which is not in their interests. So we're stuck with the rather rubbish systems and will have to suffer more failed projects as a result.

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Gates Horns

Wot Pete said.

Pete James put it very well.

Both parties cause projects to fail. Suppliers salivate with greed at the prospect of Government contracts and Local Authorities often act in an incredibly amateur and downright childish way.

And yes any modernisation of the process is hindered by vested interests.

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wot Pete said, agin...

I completely agree. Working for an IT "provider" into the public sector and spending a lot my time on their sites, I'm amazed at how credulous and desperate so many public sector bodies are - one of my major tasks these days is the management of expectation, or more correctly, separating reality from fantasy in the minds of non-IT experienced local govt officials, and reining them in when they go IT-happy.

Although to be fair you get pretty much the same in the private sector from non-IT experienced execs, usually directors and sales & marketing types.

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Thumb Down

well its hardly surprising

Why would a well trained IT project manager or even engineer move from the private sector where they can earn very good money to a public sector job where their superiors are dubiously elected officials with little or no experience.

Its simply more lucrative for these people to stay in the private sector. Bollocks to getting consultants in for £1000 a day, hire a few decent people for a lot less on a permanent basis and do a better job!

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Anonymous Coward

Another one from the Dept. of the Bleeding Obvious

The canonical example being TNT's response to the loss of 25 MTaxpayers details:

"TNT has now suggested that the discs could still be in the HMRC office in Washington or have left the building by another route.

TNT sources said there is "no proof" that the discs were ever posted and pointed to the exhaustive police search of the HMRC office in Washington where the data was downloaded. "We have only the word of one individual that the discs were posted," said a TNT executive."

(http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2007/11/24/ncustoms224.xml)

In other words TNT sucked their teeth and said "Search me, guv. Not my problem." How's that for partnership?

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Joke

@dave

Stop !! Please STOP !! Are you trying to do me out of a nice little earner ??

Suntan lotion ?? Flip-flops ?? Thongs ?? Right, I'm off !!

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