" £800,000 on a piece of software that would “minimise building waste” sent to landfill by construction companies....In the real world, such software might cost £5,000 maximum. "
I'll take the optimistic view that when the project was evaluated, it was on the basis of the savings projected. I think that - in the words of Bob Newhart* - the conversation went something like this:
A: "How much do firms lose on average in landfill waste charges?"
B: "Got that here in this report"
A: "OK, how many construction firms are there on this sort of work?"
B: "It's here on page 5 of this report"
A: "Right. So, landfill cost charge times number of firms equals...Pass me the calculator. Wow, that's a big number"
B: "That is, isn't it."
A: "So if we could reduce that by 20%, it'd still be worth spending money on."
B: "Even if we spent 5% on the answer, that'd leave industry 15% better off. Have we got any funds?"
C: "If it's a IT thing, we could get Innovate UK to do it. Give it to them."
A: "OK. Next item on the agenda is?"
And that, my friend, is that.
*I know, I didn't do it as a one-sided conversation.