back to article Advice on offshoring issued to UK.gov IT bodies

Government bodies thinking of offshoring IT functions need to make careful plans to deal with the downsides, according to guidance published on the Cabinet Office website. The document acknowledges the potential benefits of savings, productivity and making better use of skills that may in short supply domestically, but while its …

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Anonymous Coward

another failed UK Gov IT project

How many times have I hear about companies off-shoring their operations only to bring them back again?

This is just a potential waste of money.

And I am definately not happy that data held by the Gov about me would be held on primary systems in another country!

It's a stupid idea before its even started.

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Mushroom

Offshoring?

Government IT functions? Are they nuckin' futs? At best this will be profits for cronies, done on PFI (thus more expensive, but off-book and a future cost).

We'll see headlines like "We saved £40 million in off-shoring this-and-that!" Which, of course, is total bullshit when one considers the actual total cost.

but we have form for this, we outsourced our Customs buildings to a company that runs from a tax haven. Only in Britain. MPs here are more concerned about their next expenses claim or corporate event than they are about doing their job.

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FAIL

Not just HMRC

According to Private Eye, the MOD has also sold off some of its own buildings to a company based in a tax haven!

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Indeed

And that is something else to be concerned about. It may not be long before physical geography is irrelevant and it's the chain of ownership that determines governance.

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Anonymous Coward

What's that, you say?

Criminal Records Bureau have been outsourcing data entry on forms to India for years, you say?

By way of Capita, you say?

Shirley not!

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@AC

...thought this was all done @ Capita's Offices in Liverpool?

But if they've recently outsourced then chances are things will actually improve, so maybe not the best example to pull out of a hat..

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Facepalm

Offshore or create Jobs?

Errr... shouldn't our own government be creating jobs instead of increasing the dole queue?

Makes sense to me, put skilled IT professionals out of work so our data can be stollen.

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For that...

...you'd need an education system that works. Unfortunately we are now ramping up to exclude people on cost grounds and allow private companies to provide education. For all the ills of the previous system, at least the main focus was in getting the little buggers to learn and not profits.

Those companies will be "tax efficient" so not only will be be churning out sub-par graduates, but we'll be losing tax revenue to boot.

PS I wish my data were a stollen, I could keep it safely secure in my belly and a data-dump would take on a whole new meaning. :)

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I wonder

Us there any connection with the publication of this guidance docuement with HP asking the Cabinet Office if they can start offshoring more citizen data?

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Coat

Why is offshoring UK public services data and process a bad idea?

I think that is probably a good idea that this guidance is issued not least because it does actually start to establish that the biggest barriers to the off-shoring of public sector services is the PR hit and the fact that MPs will be up in arms when someone decides to move jobs to India or elsewhere.

The reality is that most process performed by the public sector could be done cheaper overseas and probably more securely than they are done in the UK. The types of operations being brought back on shore are call centres not the transactional activities that require little or no contact between the back office staff and customers (e.g. processing invoices, data input, processing forms, etc). If we got rid of these low value but extremely expensive bits of work then we should see a fall in the costs of doing government which should translate in to lower taxes at both the national and local level.

The other problem that this guidance will probably not address is what governance means and how many times a year the local mayor and their cronies will have to go to foreign parts to make sure that the system is working properly. That is where the screw up will be as council budgets for first class hotels, business flights, etc rocket as everyone sets off for a fortnight in Goa!

Of course all this is wishful thinking as the idea that off-shoring will ever work for the public sector is a non-starter. There are to many agendas in place to allow this to happen from the unions, to MPs, to local councillors and executives. They all have to maintain their jobs and positions and offshoring reduces the needs for all the middle managers that exist today and replaces them with a strong governance team who actually manage the contracts (something that govt has real problems doing today).

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>done cheaper overseas...

Well that depends, doesn't it. The headline cost may be lower, but all those workers won't be paying tax in the UK and won't be spending their wages (and thus payng VAT) in the UK. Anyone want to bet that the *net* cost to us taxpayers will be lower?

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There's an easy way to get rid of all those downsides...

... don't offshore any national or local government funded work. Don't stop foreign companies bidding, just make it a contractual requirement that all work is performed within the borders of the United Kingdom and no data goes offshore.

There. Problem at least partly solved.

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Good Idea

We could call it the the Public Service or something like that. We could pay the people that work there less than they would get paid in the Private Sector. That would save money.

Oh that right we already do that. Pity it won't last once teh ConDEMs get their way.

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WTF?

Death sentence for UK IT People

I was wondering when this would rear its ugly head. This area has always been a bastion for us hard working people in oursourcing companies and have the (mis)fortune of just about keeping our jobs by being assigned to some sort of GOV/Public sector contract. Take that out of the equation and a VERY large portion of the current UK based IT resource would be pulling dole money regardless of how good they are (or aren't). The inter company transfer policy has already got the ball rolling on this and hearing this news is just a natural progression. Only in 'Britain' can you get this type of situation. I'm not supporting some of the fu@k ups made re GOV contracts by some of the outsourcers, but I do know that the GOV don't know what they do want alot of the time, leading to epic fails. Its only going to get worse if they follow on with this 'potential' course of action.

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Way to go...

Perosnally I think we should just outsource all work and focus at what we're really good at which is claiming benefits, evaluating consumer products, getting drunk on cheap Ryanair holidays, playing video games and being diagnosed with personality disorders. All minor jobs in the UK such as waiters, retail staff, fruit pickers, project managers, lawyers, social workers, police officers, psychiatrists etc.. should be assigned to hardworking immigrants.

I'm sure the Chinese will be delighted to continue exporting their cheap wares to the UK consumer market and pay our workshy consumers to evaluate their latest creations. Maybe we could market our social engineering services to other countries who want to dumb down their population.

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Mushroom

hmm nice new easy reach target...

for any terrorist group....

just take out the local un/poorly guarded relocated uk call/data center and utterly disrupt/take down a major peice of .GOV.UK !

these mandarins are just looking to find they are out of a pension and out of work.

why not relocate the mandarins to india to man the call centers themselves (and put them in the fireing line for reall)

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@irish donkey

According to the NAO the Public sector get paid more then the Private sector, get more benefits, better pensions, are less productive and take a lot more sick leave than the private sector.

According to the INS the public sector account for 6.162 million employed, that's 53% of the workforce.

I would suggest we only need about 2-3 million public sector workers.

The cust should not be frontline trops: nurses, doctors, teachers, firemen, police officers but millions of the middle management and back office staff. Don't outsource, consolidate and automate.

How many HR departments are there in government? Why do we have 56 police forces?

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53% of the workforce

53% of the work force paying full tax. Surely that's a good thing. Better than working for VodaFone or Burton's they don't pay any tax.

just saying

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The average pay in the public sector might be higher

But it's mostly pushed up by outsourcing all the low paid jobs to the private sector.

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