back to article Scottish govt mulled scrapping £178m car-crash IT system

The Scottish government has considered scrapping its disastrous £178m rural payments IT system, according to an internal report. Last week, Audit Scotland said the government could face fines of up to £60 million. "To date, the programme has not delivered value for money," it said. The Scottish government's Common …

  1. Christopher Reeve's Horse

    "the programme has not delivered value for money"

    Seems to be a recurrent issue in Scotland for some reason... See also Scottish Parliament and Edinburgh Trams.

    The new Forth bridge, apart from a bit of a delay, appears to be going well though; unfortunately big projects have become so tarnished that hardly anything positive gets said about the few successes anymore.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "the programme has not delivered value for money"

      Seems Scotland fits well with the rest of the UK when it comes to government project management.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "the programme has not delivered value for money"

      The new Forth bridge, apart from a bit of a delay, appears to be going well though;

      A hell of a lot of it appears to have been prefabricated in China from Chinese made steel, with other sections made in Spain. Those who are committed to free trade at all costs will celebrate, those who recall Scotland's engineering heritage will weep. At least it was (relatively) cheap.

      1. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge

        Re: "the programme has not delivered value for money"

        At least it was (relatively) cheap.

        Sadly, in the longer term cheap != low cost

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "the programme has not delivered value for money"

          Sadly, in the longer term cheap != low cost

          True.

          And government never learn. There are reports that the M25 Kings Langley viaduct, (built using shonky state-subsidised Italian steel) has cost several times the construction bill in subsequent maintenance. And as I lived round there at the time, I believe that to be true because workers didn't leave site for the better part of a decade after "opening", and only last year they had to undertake even more repairs after the steel developed cracks.

    3. 2+2=5 Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: "the programme has not delivered value for money"

      > See also Scottish Parliament and Edinburgh Trams.

      At least 5 years ago, I was in Edinburgh just before the Festival and saw a poster for a fringe comedy show called "The Silence of the Trams"

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Maybe a referendum would help them choose what to do.

  3. Blotto Bronze badge
    Big Brother

    Dow we not hear about this every year?

  4. The JP

    Goverment & IT systems

    Another IT project, another massive cost and time overrun.

    At least the Government will not have to build a large number of new IT systems to deal with new customs, agriculture, fisheries and immigration policies with a hard two year deadline......Seriously, given the number of complete IT disasters in the past does anyone think we can Brexit in less than 10 years?

  5. Kevin Johnston

    Lessons learned

    The failings of the programme mirror those of the CAP system in England and Wales.

    So they took the plans for the England/Wales system and proved that if you keep doing things the same way you keep getting the same results. Surely there must be something which just needs values, rules and reports added and doesn't require them to keep re-inventing the wheel each time with continually changing numbers of spokes/sides/axles?

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just goes to show that the public sector hasn't got the competence to properly run any kind of project anywhere in the Country.

    And yet the public sector expects the public to continue to fund their gold plated pensions and increasing salary claims, and we wonder why there's no money to fund front line services...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Downvote

      As a Govt. IT worker I have just downvoted you for rolling out the same tired old crap about 'Gold Plated Pensions' and 'Increasing Salary Claims'. This hasn't been true for a long time and is particularly annoying to those of us who are paid well less than the going rate, lucky to get a 1% payrise and only have a decent pension because I've been working here long enough that they can't take it away from me. AC for obvious reasons

  7. jMcPhee

    CGI, again. Same shysters who cost US govt $$$$ by botching the Obamacare launch.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    UGHHRGHGRUHHUGR

    Oh for fucks sake. I'm going to wheel out my solution for this.

    £10 million in briefcases in a sealed glass box in an office, on display.

    I get £5 million and each of a team of 5 coders gets £1 million when we deliver something that works right.

    PLEASE give me the contract to write your noddy webapp that takes a farmers name and address and field details and applies some rules and spits out a payment and schedules a payment and pays it. This isn't fucking rocket science.

    And why the fuck are England and Scotland running identical concurrent projects to do the same thing? It's SOFTWARE. Write it once and LET ANYONE IN THE UK USE IT YOU DUMB FUCKERS.

    1. SkippyBing Silver badge

      Re: UGHHRGHGRUHHUGR

      'And why the fuck are England and Scotland running identical concurrent projects to do the same thing?'

      Because 'Sovereign will of the Scottish People!!' that's why*. Seriously, if England and Wales had a perfectly working system that the Scottish government could have for free I suspect the SNP would turn it down.

      *Imagine it being shrieked in a kind of Jimmie Krankie on helium style.

    2. The First Dave

      Re: UGHHRGHGRUHHUGR

      'And why the fuck are England and Scotland running identical concurrent projects to do the same thing?'

      Because everyone knew from the start that the Government IT project being run in England would be a giant failure. (Admittedly the wrong conclusion was drawn from that known fact)

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: UGHHRGHGRUHHUGR

      Not to mention 27 other countries also part of the CAP...

    4. Tom 7 Silver badge

      Re: UGHHRGHGRUHHUGR

      Sorry mate - you'll be waiting for your money for eternity. One of the problems with these things is, once the UK gets hold of the stuff from the EU, the lawyers earn their keep making logically and mutually exclusive modifications to what is probably a simple system. When you point out the logical inconsistencies you will find it is your fault not theirs.

      As far as I can tell the rest of Europe seems to manage its stuff OK. I used to receive some money from CAP as the whole thing was started as a way of giving small farmers a chance against the global mega corps. In the UK and only the UK are small farmers now excluded. I actually have more land than I require to receive the CAP but one of my fields was removed as I didnt want to claim in case I was being dodgy and they refuse to allow it back in, unless I let the farmer next door manage it for me?

  9. Kane Silver badge

    So...

    ...IT outsourcer writes damning report about another IT outsourcer?

    News at 11.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Worth checking the original planning/requirements docs for both CAP schemes for any names in common ?

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not England AND Wales

    Wales has a completely separate system which hasn't had any issues. I did mention this before !

  12. Snorlax
    Facepalm

    Huh?

    Last week, Audit Scotland said the government could face fines of up to £60 million. "To date, the programme has not delivered value for money," it said.

    "You haven't provided value for money. So we're going to fine you. And taxpayers will end up footing the bill."

    Doesn't make sense to me. How about sacking the civil servants responsible, so they never get to play with taxpayers money ever again?

    1. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge

      Re: Huh?

      Because it was approved by the standing committe in charge of rural affairs, which has replaced all its members who made the decision with new members who have nothing to do with the previous members decision, while the previous members themselves have all joined other government and civil service committes and therefore cannot be repremanded as this would disrupt the current work the former committe members are engaged in their new roles for other committees.

      As for sacking the former members of the rural affairs committee, we would be unable to do this as it would expose the government to the costs of unfair dismissal proceding, which if proved could be quite substantional.

      Therefore we would have an inquiry into the failing of the rural affairs committee, with recommendations for the new members of the committe to follow while quietly allowing any former member of the committee to retire early on a full pension to avoid the need for an unfair dismissal proceding , then be re-hired as consultants to the commitee that they have already been moved to.

      /Sir Humphrey mode off

  13. davenewman

    We know that the Scottish and Northern Irish rural payments systems were much simpler than the England and Wales system. They had fewer categories and fewer rules. So it should be easier to build a working system to a simpler specification.

    Somehow the private contractors managed to mess that up.

  14. proto-robbie
    Boffin

    Is the Functional Spec. no more?

    Solves this sort of problem every time. Should be virtually the same as the Tender Doc. Sign it off, and build it to an agreed budget. Don't change anything thereafter. It's this last bit that people have trouble with.

  15. J P
    Coat

    Digital exemplars

    "the CAP system in England and Wales... was intended to be a Government Digital Service exemplar, but instead went over budget 40 per cent to £215m, and will incur penalties from the EU of £180m per year as a result of disallowance payments."

    "instead"? I'd have thought overbudget and underperforming was a perfect exemplar of a GDS project.

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