back to article Universal Credit? Universal DISCREDIT, more like, say insiders

The controversial Universal Credit online benefits system is so flawed that skilled IT staff working on a pilot scheme have been forced to enter data by hand, two high-ranking whistleblowers have told The Register. The senior civil servants contacted us separately to warn that a trial of the new benefits system shows it is …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just maybe...

    ...the useless ****ers of government could deploy the apparently unlimited and technologically skilled resource used to spy on people's private communication to fix this instead?

    No, thought no.

    1. Ketlan
      FAIL

      Re: Just maybe...

      "Government sources reveal 'one dole to rule them all' in 'total disarray'"

      Is anyone surprised? Anyone at all?

      "Our second source warned that the Universal Credit was in such poor shape that it could cost Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Iain Duncan Smith his job."

      Good. Fucking good riddance.

      1. JDX Gold badge

        Re: Just maybe...

        Or maybe the spying projects are in just as bad shape, which should cheer you up at least.

    2. Frankee Llonnygog

      Re: Just maybe...

      I think you will find that, for most government IT, scopes are creeped and costs are pared until the inevitable result is a ramshackle result that doesn't work.

      Contrast that with any Gov IT related to defence or intelligence: in those cases, scopes are creeped and costs are bloated, until the inevitable result is a ramshackle result that doesn't work.

      The key difference is that different groups of shareholders enjoy the divdends

  2. Ru
    Facepalm

    Another year, another catastrophically broken government IT project. Same idiots, same mistakes. Every single time.

    Is it actually possible for any UK government IT project to actually pass at least two of these criteria: on time, on budget, works as expected? How about just one of those?

    Where does the justification for these projects come from? Has one ever made things better, justifying further projects?

    1. WonkoTheSane
      Trollface

      Maybe that's why...

      The inquiry into GCHQ's PRISM-alike interweb snarfing program is being held in secret?

      Because they don't want the great unwashed knowing that it they p*ssed science only knows how many billions on yet another broken system!

    2. dwm

      https://www.uk.gov/ seems to have gone astonishingly well.

      I am increasingly of the opinion that Valve's assertion that, "HIring people is the most important thing you do" is correct, and that the success of this particular IT project is down to the fact that UK.gov recruited much better, much more effective people to undertake the work.

      1. gazthejourno (Written by Reg staff)

        It's good, if you're the sort of person used to trawling through out-of-the-box Wordpress installations running the default theme. Otherwise it's a bloody nightmare to find anything. Take the MoD's website; whereas before you used to go to mod.gov.uk now it's some pointlessly long URL like "gov.uk/government/functions/physical/spending/money/defence". Important information's gone from being 4 or 5 levels deep to about 20.

        1. JimmyPage Silver badge
          Black Helicopters

          @gazthejourno

          Important information's gone from being 4 or 5 levels deep to about 20.

          I suspect that is probably intentional ....

        2. David Hicks
          Unhappy

          I *still* haven't had a decent answer out of them as to why they're using Google Analytics on a UK government website. It's almost like they want to share every detail of UK citizen/government interactions with the US...

        3. dwm

          @gazthejourno

          I'm biased, I've met a couple of the people working on the project. That said, that's not been my experience.

          Their search tools seem to be well-developed; a query for 'mod' swiftly showed a raft of pertinent pages, with a link to the top-level MOD page right at the top: https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/ministry-of-defence

          That's a URL that's meant to be found, not meant to be typed — but I'm not sure that's a critical failing in a world with history-based auto-complete and powerful, functional search tools. (Also, trimming elements from that URL produces index pages that actually appear to be useful.)

        4. a cynic writes...

          I think I've found your problem - it's not mod.gov.uk it's just mod.uk - which then redirects to https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/ministry-of-defence .

      2. TheOtherHobbes

        "I am increasingly of the opinion that Valve's assertion that, "HIring people is the most important thing you do" is correct"

        It's especially correct about hiring clowns in Whitehall and Westminster.

        Unfortunately they don't get hired in the usual way, so all they have to do is turn up, look serious, and jiggle their chins around.

        Everyone else has to at least try to pretend they're good at something.

      3. taxman
        Happy

        Ah, someone from GDS reading the articles.

      4. Frankee Llonnygog

        https://www.uk.gov/ seems to have gone astonishingly well.

        You're joking right? That's not an IT project. It's a bleedin' website. Those clowns are supposed to doing the Digital ID bit of Universal Credit. Unlike the rest of that project, they haven't even got far enough to fail yet.

      5. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        www.gov.uk is nothing more than a collection of links to other sites. It could have been knocked up in Wordpress

    3. Ted Treen
      Big Brother

      Deja Vu, anyone?

      "... the government trying to do something massive and unprecedented, yet without the culture or operational infrastructure to do so.."

      ...or the wisdom, or the experience, or the understanding, or any sort of clue whatsoever...

    4. JohnMurray

      Loads run well....I tax my car...check my MOT...

      The data that loads into the VOSA system to monitor LGV hours runs well..

      Funny how some things run properly......maybe if they use the UC system to deprive people of money it would run better ?

    5. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Arguably this one is "fit for purpose" if the purpose is to reduce the number of benefits paid out

  3. Da Weezil

    Whoopsie.

    " such as the scheduled change to minimum wage, which will be cut by 12p an hour to £6.31 for adults and by 5p to £5.03 for 18-to-20-year-olds by October. "

    One of the few things this gang of public school bullies has yet to cut is the national minimum wage

    Its about time the Bitter and twisted IDS was sidelined. He seems to be heel bent on taking revenge on the country for being booted out of the leadership of this out of touch with reality bunch. Monthly payments wont work for those who are far below the breadline - ignore the Daily Wail spin, the rich Benefit claimants are a micro minority, most are ordinary honest working folk who have paid into the system for years only to be treated like parasites by a political cadre full of professional parasites.

    1. El Presidente
      Facepalm

      Re: Whoopsie.

      Indeed, the minimum wage is to be **increased** by 12p per hour in October.

      https://www.gov.uk/national-minimum-wage-rates

      1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

        Re: Whoopsie.

        Who cares? Minimum wage is just a twisted way of keeping a whole set of jobs off the market.

        1. sabroni Silver badge

          Re: Minimum wage

          No, I think it's actually an attempt to make sure that working people have enough money to live on. It might not work, but I'm pretty sure that's what the intent is.

          1. JohnMurray

            Re: Minimum wage

            I think a better description is "enables working people to have a wage high enough to not be able to claim benefits"

            1. El Presidente
              Childcatcher

              Re: Minimum wage

              @JohnMurray

              "I think a better description is "enables working people to have a wage high enough to not be able to claim benefits""

              No, that would be the (still too low) living wage and even then there is the fiscally insane process of taking taxes off employees via an expensive bureaucracy before handing some of it back in the way of tax credits.

              Raising the living wage to an index linked £10/hr and the basic tax threshold to £18k would be better all round.

        2. S4qFBxkFFg

          Re: Whoopsie.

          Why is this bad?

          A minimum wage is a way of saying "We have decided that it is beneath human dignity to work for less than this amount."

          If this set of jobs you mention goes "off the market", it can't be that great a loss, or the market would have "decided" that minimum wage was acceptable.

          1. Dave 15

            Re: Whoopsie.

            The problem with a minimum wage is that it doesn't take into account the minimum cost of a reasonable life. Such things as housing, getting to work, washing...

            The problem for this country is that successive governments have massively increased the costs -

            Housing, the selling off and not replacing council houses coupled with unlimited publicly financed rents has pushed rental up, rental yields up and therefore the price of houses up by an enormous amount. Add the blunder in the last budget with more housing lending and the prices are not falling to match the fall in wages.

            Energy - for getting to work, washing, keeping house warm etc. has been a complete disaster ever since 'privatization' with more or less unrestricted hikes in taxes and prices. My latest gas and electric bill suggest a cost of £200 a month (on a summer bill!) for a tiny 3 bed semi with top notch insulation and double glazing and heating that has been off the entire time!

            I can not, can not under any circumstance, compete with a guy in India who pays a few pence for a house, nothing for heating etc. if I have bills like this and the only competition is price.

            Government needs to become radically cheaper. It can do this by cutting staff hugely - so a single flat benefit for all, a single flat tax on all that is earned, nothing more - no bbc licence fee, no road fund licence, no council tax, no vat, no any of the others.

        3. El Presidente
          FAIL

          Re: Whoopsie.

          @Destroy All Monsters

          Who cares? Someone doing 60 hours a week (WTD) will be about £20 a month better off.

          A light lunch for some (burp) but a significant difference for someone on minimum wage.

        4. John Smith 19 Gold badge
          Meh

          Re: Whoopsie.

          "Who cares? Minimum wage is just a twisted way of keeping a whole set of jobs off the market."

          Your PoV may depend on wheather you're talking about the US or the UK "Minimum wage."

          They are not the same.

    2. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re: Whoopsie.

      "One of the few things this gang of public school bullies has yet to cut is the national minimum wage"

      That's been fixed in the article. Again, please please please email corrections@thereg with stuff you spot wrong in a story. We can't read every comment.

      C.

      1. El Presidente
        Trollface

        Re: Whoopsie.

        @diodesign

        So you all get the chance to edit your posts instead of proof reading them whereas us commentards don't get the chance to edit our typos *and* we have to proof read all of *your* posts *then* send in corrections because you don't have them time?

        Nah, I'd rather the howlers remained. Like this sneak peak:

        http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/06/27/slideshare_movie_spam_scam/

        2 weeks in and for shame, it's still there.

        1. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

          Re: Re: Whoopsie.

          "it's still there"

          Not any more.

          C.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Whoopsie.

      " such as the scheduled change to minimum wage, which will be cut by 12p an hour to £6.31 for adults and by 5p to £5.03 for 18-to-20-year-olds by October. "

      Fail to see the specific issue here ... universal credit is, as far as I understand, intended to modify benefit payments on a near-real-time basis from income data submitted by employers. If minimum wage goes up then the employers will increase the amount they pay, report this into the UB system which will then adjust the benefit payment. If (and it probably is if) it works this is better than the current scheme where if pay goes up the benefit system only finds out some time later by which time overpayments may have been made and need to be reclaimed.

      If you're one of the people now on a "zero-hours" or equiv contract (e.g. someone we know who does local deliveries for one of the parcel firms) then if monthly income is very variable you currently end up with the problem that when you have a "bad month" with little paid work your benefit payment has probably be calculated on the basis of the "good month" you had several months earlier - i.e. you end up with no pay and no benefit that month.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Whoopsie.

      "...this out of touch with reality bunch".

      Hmmmm. Who is more "out of touch with reality": the present government, which is trying to get the nation out of the clutches of the moneylenders; or the previous Labour government, which threw the nation into those clutches?

      I have no affinity with any of the three major parties - I would not dream of voting for any of them. But this particular issue is absolutely clear-cut. Labour got us hopelessly in debt, and whoever followed them was going to have to try to dig us out - and become hopelessly unpopular in the process.

      Two-party democracy - donchaluvit?

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. Fogcat

        Re: Whoopsie.

        "I have no affinity with any of the three major parties - I would not dream of voting for any of them."

        So I assume you support a "minority party" then? If you don't vote at all, you don't get to complain.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Whoopsie.

          "So I assume you support a "minority party" then? If you don't vote at all, you don't get to complain".

          What on earth are you talking about? I don't "get to complain"? What is that supposed to mean - if anything?

          Assuming it does mean something, why does my right to free speech depend on my voting for one of the small selection of unpleasant, incompetent, unrepresentative parties on offer - most of which are war criminals?

          As Jerry Garcia said about 30 years ago, "Constantly choosing the lesser of two evils is still choosing evil". So why are you so insistent that we must all choose evil?

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Whoopsie.

          '"So I assume you support a "minority party" then? If you don't vote at all, you don't get to complain"'.

          Moreover, why do you assume that I support *a* party at all? Can you not imagine that a citizen might wait until an election is pending, and actually scrutinize the manifestos of the various parties to determine which of them is least unappealing at the time? Or weigh up the character of the party leaders, to see if any of them seem at all trustworthy or competent?

          If, in your world, everyone "supports a party" continually through thick and thin (like loyal football supporters), that makes nonsense of even the tiny sliver of democracy we are supposed to have. Instead of exercising your privilege, as a citizen, to choose the best possible government, you are simply barracking for your tribe.

          1. J.G.Harston Silver badge

            Re: Whoopsie.

            ...or even, shock horror, scrutinise the CANDIDATES, up for election WHERE YOU ARE VOTING, not the parties, and not the party leader. There has never been an election in this country where people could vhose between different candidates for prime minister, they have always been in (very safe) different seats.

  4. Mr Spock

    In other news...

    ... Pope Catholic, bear seen defecating in woods, yet another major Government IT project egregiously fucked up.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Skills and fail

    "What he is trying to do is quite admirable, yet the civil servants just aren't up to it. They wouldn't last a minute in the commercial world due to their poor work ethic, interpersonal skills and competency levels."

    While we do need a public sector they really do seem to have an impossibly infinite skill of making the biggest mess for the maximum cost. Sometimes I think it would be good for the public sector to sell up to the private sector for almost anything and then reintroduce services piecemeal and properly. After shedding however many public sponges who cause these problems yet take our hard earned money for doing so.

    Any group will stagnate and lose their effectiveness over time. In the private world they then fail to a better operator. In the public sector they just demand more money and make worse decisions. And we pay for it.

    1. Anonymous Coward 101

      Re: Skills and fail

      Look, the 'incompetent and lazy' civil servant is a stereotype. I'm sure that many civil servants could be described as such, but I'm also sure the problem with this project is that it was impossible to implement in the timescales involved.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Skills and fail

        @Anonymous Coward 101

        "Look, the 'incompetent and lazy' civil servant is a stereotype. I'm sure that many civil servants could be described as such, but I'm also sure the problem with this project is that it was impossible to implement in the timescales involved."

        That is probably a strong factor. Our public sector exists to employ some people so they dont show up on unemployment figures. Apart from that they are an attempt of the worst effort to do something. I am not calling the hard working front liners who have to tolerate the mess but the NHS were employing secretaries at a time that they were sacking nurses. At the time there were complaints that not enough medical staff were in hospitals.

        If the public sector cut back to what they currently do well and reintroduced services with new reason and resolve to fix problems then we wont have a comment section which discusses the expected fail because its the public sector.

        My comment has down votes because I suggest the public sector restarts its poor 'services'. This comment section has plenty comments talking about expected failure and of course it failed. Yet the comment talking of fixing the problem gets down voted. No wonder public services suck.

        1. breakfast
          Facepalm

          Re: Skills and fail

          I think the public services need a restart themselves. There are some rubbish civil servants but there are probably more excellent ones. Unfortunately with the civil service run the way it currently is, firing anybody is more or less impossible, so the incompetent stay in their jobs or get shuffled from department to department by frustrated management. In the meantime their behaviour and attitude influences others so that the competent are more tempted to leave and all the time the pressure from the top is to work harder for less money, which is another disincentive for excellent people who could enjoy better treatment, better pay, better conditions and a bit of human dignity in the private sector, to stay. Some of them do, but they are making a genuine sacrifice to do so.

          There are also non-trivial problems to do with steering any large organisation - public or private sector. When a minister suddenly makes a press-release influenced reactive change of direction, the organisation can't make a brisk u-turn because government is more akin to an oil tanker than a smart car. If the minister accidentally announces they are going to do something differently then suddenly everyone on the relevant project has to change everything to fit through the latest half-assed whimsical dictat. Of course, what ministers hate is experienced, knowledgeable civil servants explaining why their idea is terrible, has failed in the past and is totally unworkable, hence the pressure for a far worse system of politically appointed senior civil servants.

          Maybe one reason that large private sector companies seem more efficient is that the shareholders don't vote in a completely new board and chief executive every few years who are solely interested in reversing everything the previous board and chief executive does and consequently can't make any plans beyond the few years of their own domination.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Thumb Down

        Re: Skills and fail

        "Look, the 'incompetent and lazy' civil servant is a stereotype"

        It certainly wasn't a stereotype when I worked for the civil service. Lazy, useless, unskilled jobsworths were about 80% of the workforce, and if you didn't fit (or wouldn't alter to fit) that culture then you took the high road.

        And if this is merely a stereotype, why do we have bungled failure after bungled failure - energy policy is a costly disaster, defence procurement is and always has been a costly mess, fire control centres were a billion pound mess, awarding a rail operation contract is beyond the skills of the twerps at the Department against Transport, the Department of Health wasted billions on failed IT, £3bn a year wasted on benefit fraud, DEFRA ***ed up their IT systems so that farmers were denied billions in EU entitlements, immigration IT failures, the MI5 database upgrade...

        How many more examples do you need?

        1. Ted Treen
          Big Brother

          Re: Skills and fail

          "... Lazy, useless, unskilled jobsworths were about 80% of the workforce..."

          Yup - and they're unemployable elsewhere, but they're all members of Unite - Mr Millipede's puppet-masters - so your options of dealing with them are very limited.

          Also, see Pournelle's Iron Law of Bureaucracy:-

          Pournelle's Iron Law of Bureaucracy states that in any bureaucratic organization there will be two kinds of people":

          First, there will be those who are devoted to the goals of the organization. Examples are dedicated classroom teachers in an educational bureaucracy, many of the engineers and launch technicians and scientists at NASA, even some agricultural scientists and advisors in the former Soviet Union collective farming administration.

          Secondly, there will be those dedicated to the organization itself. Examples are many of the administrators in the education system, many professors of education, many teachers union officials, much of the NASA headquarters staff, etc.

          The Iron Law states that in every case the second group will gain and keep control of the organization. It will write the rules, and control promotions within the organization.

        2. Matt 21

          Re: Skills and fail

          My experience of being a civil servant is that we worked hard, were underpaid with an employer constantly trying to blame us for their poor leadership and ideas.

          I do remember sitting next to a group of private sector "partners" who were paid a lot more than the rest of the civil servants who worked with them and yet had fewer skills and were often lazy. The only way one of the "partners" got sacked was when he left a copy of a letter to a friend on the photo copier stating that he didn't have the skills for the job and how he couldn't believe he was getting away with it.

          I got so fed up with the being mucked about by various government initiatives and being asked to compete for my own job that I left.

          I more than doubled my salary on leaving the civil service and while I saw many cock-ups in the civil service I've seen as many in the private sector, although mostly better covered up.

          So, I would say that it's largely a myth that civil servants are all lazy and incompetent. It is however true, in my experience, that they may well be fed up with being mucked around by whatever government fashion is being pushed through as policy this week and constantly being told they're much worse than anyone in the private sector.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Skills and fail

            that is my experience as well. I'm pleased you had the guts to leave because it certainly ain't fun working in the CS with the constnat restructurings and bullsh*t

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Skills and fail

          Regional Fire Controls actually weren't that much of a mess, they were good idea but not in the way they were to be implemented.

          The intended North West Fire Control (Cumbria, Lancashire, Merseyside, Cheshire & Gtr Manchester) is still going ahead albeit without Merseyside who have decided to pursue a joint police/fire service control and is due to go live next year, on schedule I might add.

          1. J.G.Harston Silver badge

            Re: Skills and fail

            Cumbria *AND* Cheshire???

            Hello Chester Dispatch, Carlisle here, where's that appliance you promised us, only the M6/M74 junction has been on fire for four hours now.

      3. Dave 15

        Re: Skills and fail

        Impossible to implement in the couple of years its been hammering around, heavens I could have implemented such a simple system in a couple of evenings at home. It really isn't - and shouldn't be - rocket science or difficult. Its a database with some numbers and a rule.

    2. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Unhappy

      AC@09:25

      " Sometimes I think it would be good for the public sector to sell up to the private sector for almost anything and then reintroduce services piecemeal and properly."

      Not really been keeping up with this have you?

      Most UK public sector work is outsourced already.

      Software development being a big part of this.

      The actual software for this is not in fact being developed by civil servants by the oligopoly of conslutants we call "The Usual Suspects."

      The results are as you see them.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: AC@09:25

        @John Smith 19

        "Not really been keeping up with this have you?

        Most UK public sector work is outsourced already."

        Outsourced is not private sector. If a private company exists because it primarily exists to serve the public sector then it is public sector. There was an interesting program showing how we have a huge public sector (was near the end of labour) but if we include businesses that exist for the public sector (cant survive without its money for work) the public sector was even bigger.

        "The actual software for this is not in fact being developed by civil servants by the oligopoly of conslutants we call "The Usual Suspects.""

        And why is it an oligopoly? Why do the gov keep going back to those who bend them over a barrel and run off with our money? Because its easier to do that and get away with it than to try and do a good job. Add a few layers of red tape and nobody is to blame. Do this long enough and a poor job is the expected norm. Hence the comments on here.

        If the gov stopped trying to be clever (they cant) they would do more good. By selling out to the private sector these monsters of inefficiency and failure will fall or improve. And in the areas where the private sector is too expensive (for bad reasons) or not providing well enough the gov can use the vast buckets of cash freed up to start a national service in that sector. And because its a new effort looking to experts to get off the ground it can be done properly.

        "The results are as you see them."

        We accept the results because they are the norm. They accept the results because we let them.

  6. J J Carter Silver badge
    WTF?

    "Not scalable"? Err, I thought all govt. IT was on t'cloud now and could scale to infinity and beyond!

    1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Joke

      Err, I thought all govt. IT was on t'cloud now and could scale to infinity and beyond!

      Yeah. It ran fine on that Access database we prototyped with the 10 dummy claimants.

      Perhaps I should have posted this AC.

  7. SuperTim

    These poor DWP employees...

    Should consider themselves lucky that the Gummint is so incompetent that they require a large pool of staff to shore-up this creaking catastrophe. A load of them have been laid off (not the generals, just the cannon-fodder). Some of them are very skilled and so were rightly booted out in favour of keeping the expense fiddling Mandarins. A friend of mine is now on this here minimum wage in a menial job, which is a waste of her considerable talent.

    I love politics, if it weren't for my damn conscience I thing I could go a long way!

  8. Tom 7 Silver badge

    The governments policy

    is to run all public services badly, blame that on socialism, and then sell it to their capitalist funders.

    The fact that every privatisation has reduced the quality of service even further will continue to be ignored.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Flame

      Re: The governments policy

      Classic example on the Today programme this morning. The Gov't rep explained that the Royal Mail must be privatised because it is making a profit, while the Post Office must remain public ownership because it is running at a loss.

      The idea of funding the loss making counter service with the delivery service was not even considered. No mention of the gov't / tax payer retaining the pension liabilities and it is a fair bet that the tax rake from Royal Mail will fall as well.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The governments policy

        If I understood the interview correctly, the idea is that the RM can get its loans from elsewhere without them showing up on the government's accounts and making the borrowing figures look bad.

        Not that's what the minister or whatever said.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The governments policy

        Yes, when challenged with the prospect that rural deliveries would be severely limited (or even stopped altogether) the imbecile replied that he thought it would be a good idea. Apparently, now everyone has the interwebs, they don't need snail mail at all. He's unbelievably cynical, or unbelievably ignorant (or possibly both). Someone who was bound to float up to the very top of the cesspool...

        1. J.G.Harston Silver badge

          Re: The governments policy

          (facepalm) I'd like to see how I can send somebody a parcel through the internet.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Unhappy

      Re: The governments policy@ Tom 7

      "The governments policy is to run all public services badly, blame that on socialism, and then sell it to their capitalist funders."

      So go on then, explain to us how true socialist countries provide good quality services at an affordable cost. I suggest you start off with the USSR, then help us understand the workers paradise of Cuba, the economic success story of Venezuela, Mozambique and so forth?

      Personally I'm sick of paying through the nose for government's sh*tty "public services", most of which I don't want, and those I do costing too much and under-delivering. Not as part of any grand scheme, but simply because the public sector enjoys a monopoly of provison, yet is unaccountable and incompetent. Look at the generally poor standard of state education in this country. There's no plan to privatise it, but the answer that the public sector has for the sh*t standards it delivers is to have a regulator (at extra cost) to ensure "fair access" to higher education (plus OFSTED supposedly driving up standards). Now explain to me why there's money for useless regulators, but no will to sort out the poor quality of state education? Was that some capitalist plot by the last Labour government?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The governments policy@ Tom 7

        You guys are talking right past one another, arguing about whether government or private enterprise is worse. The thing is, they both are; and recent attempts to blend them together (as in the railway "service") have been magnificently successful in combining the worst points of both public and private, without any of their redeeming virtues.

        Human beings will always seek to attain their goals with as little effort as possible. The trick is to design systems that force them to work hard in order to get rewards. Unfortunately, those who end up in positions of power and authority are always able to leach off the great majority who aren't.

        As for those who praise the private enterprise system, consider that any large corporation is run - on the inside - along lines that make Stalinism seem positively democratic.

        We should save the energy wasted in futile arguments about "public versus private", and use some of it working out rational incentive systems. The ancient Athenians had a good method at one point, when they elected officials for a year at most and voted on their reward - or punishment - at the end of that period. The effect was to concentrate minds quite effectively; at the very worst, unsatisfactory performers exiled themselves to avoid punishment.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: The governments policy@ Tom Welsh

          "The thing is, they both are; and recent attempts to blend them together (as in the railway "service") have been magnificently successful in combining the worst points of both public and private, without any of their redeeming virtues."

          As somebody old enough to remember the shocking performance of British Rail, and who travelled widely and regularly on the network, I'm staggered anybody is daft enough to claim that the current situation is the worst of all worlds. Those poor ****ers who got rattled slowly and unbelievably uncomfortably up and down the WCML by BR wouldn't swap their fast, comfortable Pendolino's to go back to BR's manky offer. The current standards of punctuality are far better than BR's, the staff usually polite and helpful (exceptions I know, but nothing compared to the surly vermin that dominated in BR days), and traffic volumes and efficiency far better than anything BR managed. BR managed a few hits (like the HST), but only because Brunel had laid the tracks straight almost a hundred years earlier, and on routes like NE-SW they built the HSTs but then failed to straighten the line.

          The BR apologists and pro-nationalisation lobby can't stop hankering for a mythical 1950's Nirvana of Will Hay and the pre-Beeching era, ignoring the fact that government was always a poor steward of rail assets largely built by the private sector, and that people used the railways under state ownership less and less of their own free choice. If you want state owned railways, then go to India.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: The governments policy@ Tom Welsh

            Ledswinger, this week someone I know booked a ticket to travel from Cambridge to Manchester, having arranged three meetings for that day. The train never reached Manchester! Some nonsense about signalling problems, catkins on the line, wrong kind of sunshine... The return ticket costs £189. And you think that is good service?

          2. John Smith 19 Gold badge
            Coat

            Re: The governments policy@ Tom Welsh

            " BR managed a few hits (like the HST), but only because Brunel had laid the tracks straight almost a hundred years earlier, and on routes like NE-SW they built the HSTs but then failed to straighten the line."

            Wrong.

            Brunel did not lay "straight track. He laid flat track that avoided hills as much as possible because trains (in his day) were rubbish at gradients and flattening hill without JCBs needed 1000s of Irishmen and was a general PITA.

            Old solutions become new problems and HST's genius was accommodating high speed using the existing track, not the TGV solution of simply laying a new straighter network.

            Should you have any interest in the real reasons why BR was so s**t I'd suggest "Blueprint for Bankruptcy" by EA Gibbins.

            Please feel free to continue your rant.

            Yes it's an anorak.

          3. halftone

            Re: The governments policy@ Tom Welsh

            You do realise, I hope, that "privatised" railways enjoy approximately 3x x the amount of public subsidy that nationalised BR ever received? £3.9Bn in 2011/12, 35% of revenue, came straight out of taxpayer pockets.Subsidy went as low as 26% at one point, but then the accidents due to cost-cut maintenance became embarrassingly lethal and Railtrack collapsed,. Perhaps your idealised view of privatisation contains nuts..

  9. James 51 Silver badge

    "The senior civil servants contacted us separately"

    Okay, this should have alarm bells ringing. For two on the same project to break rank like this, something must be really wrong.

    1. LPF

      Re: "The senior civil servants contacted us separately"

      Oh please its standard operating pracice in the civil service, at least with this they are prototyping it to make sure the thing works before just pouring 8 Billion down the drain like labour did with the NHS Connecting for health bollocks.

      I'd like them to spot the problems now rather than later on, and quite frankly condesing all those benefits into one payment means that we might actually cut down the legions working in the civil service. Why a system cannot handle a numeric valur being increased without a major redesign, tells me that somewhere someone is extracting the urine!

      Thats a value in a dtabase table or should be, so why should canculations be so affected ?

      1. James 51 Silver badge

        Re: "The senior civil servants contacted us separately"

        No, it should be the prototype but it's not politically acceptable for IDS to turn round and say opps it's going to take another year to get it right. This is the basis for the new system and it won't be fixed before rolling it out.

  10. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    WTF?

    "without the culture or operational infrastructure to do so"

    Oh, it's a business change project and no one has considered the staff.

    How not novel.

    I've discovered that one of the Universe's little ways of letting you know "You f**ked up" is requiring manual data entry from an existing (and of course usually large) database.

    Which one of the "Usual Suspects" got this con-tract? Don't be shy. Did you also right a conslutants report as well?

    In other news. Man with gun goes berserk in Greater Manchester Jobcentre. Full story at 10.

  11. Mycho Silver badge

    What about deductions?

    Does this mean that the £5/week maximum that you can earn on the dole is going to stagger on a little longer? Universal Credit is supposed to see it replaced with keeping 60% of what you earn.

  12. This post has been deleted by its author

  13. Magnus_Pym

    All this pain might be worth it ...

    ... if it sees the frankly evil IDS out of a job.

    I suspect however that as usual an 'enquiry' will take several years and several million pounds to show that actually no-one was to blame, it was just that the toilet cleaners hadn't had adequate training. In the mean time toilet cleaning contractor has been changed to a new contract with a new company that just happens to have a very similar name to old one with similar board members none of whom are contributors to party funds, no siree, anyway that was in another country and besides, the wench is dead

    1. LPF

      Re: All this pain might be worth it ...

      Oh do grow up you idiot.. he's not evil he's trying to reform the benfits system that has been seen by a generation as a career choice. Maybe if you had a proper job and watched your moeny going to pay for the jeremy kyle generation , should be able to see why he's doing what he's doing!

      1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge
        Flame

        Re: All this pain might be worth it ...

        @LPF

        You make a good argument, apart from its failure to be backed up with any facts.

        'Workfare', which is essentially slavery of those unfortunate enough to be unemployed, is nothing short of evil. When found to be infringing human rights, IDS's response was essentially, "Meh. Keep doing it anyway."

        Most of the benefits budget goes not on the 'Jeremy Kyle Generation', but on pensions. It is barely possible to live on JSA. It was hard enough a decade ago when I had to do it, and in real terms, the amount you get has gone down, and the cost of living gone up. If you think IDs is even slightly in the right, you'd better pray you never find yourself unfortunate enough to be withou money and without a job, but then again, you're probably one of teh lucky ones who owns their own house, and has thousands of pounds in savings, and is currently seeing tax cuts for the rich.

        1. Dave 15

          Re: All this pain might be worth it ...

          @LoyalCommentator

          The 'lucky' ones have mainly worked damned hard to have their own house, and even harder if they have managed to put money away as well. What they haven't done is had holidays, been drinking down the pub, smoking like chimneys etc etc because if they have they wouldn't have the money.. There are of course a very very very small umber who happen to know the right person at the right time and are CEO of some bank or other... but they are such a small number that while annoying they aren't really relevant.

          The hard workers pay for their house and savings with sweat and time, they then see both taken away in taxes, funding old age or other things while being told that they have so much money they don't need the money that is given freely to the lazy feckless few who you see pissed as parrots every night of the week.

          If the welfare system was actually doing the job you allude to - helping those on hard times - then I wouldn't mind. And no, I don't have a house, I don't have thosuands (or even hundreds) in the bank, I do work 2 jobs and a lot of hours - so one day I might - but a massive chunk of what I earn is taken in tax to pay for the rest.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: All this pain might be worth it ...

            @Dave 15

            "The hard workers pay for their house and savings with sweat and time, they then see both taken away in taxes, funding old age or other things while being told that they have so much money they don't need the money that is given freely to the lazy feckless few who you see pissed as parrots every night of the week."

            I probably would disagree with that statement until I started living across from a pub that houses these people. I would add to your list of vices the weed they smoke constantly which not only stinks out there but if I open the windows in hot weather it stinks the flat out too.

            The pub was so bad that the police wouldnt come around no matter how many calls they got. That changed when the coalition announced police cuts. It might have been coincidence but I doubt it. I get the pleasure of working while they spend the day in the pub shouting at the top of their voices.It aint nice to see where my money is going.

          2. strum Silver badge

            The 'lucky' ones have mainly worked damned hard

            If there were any relationship between hard work and prosperity, we'd have a world full of millionaire nurses and miners and road-diggers - and impoverished bankers.

            It's tosh. Some of the currently-rich may have put in long hours, for a few years (as did many others), but they didn't get rich by working hard. They got rich by being lucky.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: The 'lucky' ones have mainly worked damned hard

              Right on, strum. Moreover, no one could accumulate the wealth that the richest members of society have by a lifetime of honest work of any kind. Some were lucky - they invested in the right stocks and shares, or bought the right piece of land. Others were lucky in a different way - like Simon Cowell, who managed to have the most average musical taste in the whole country, and parley that into a fortune. Or David Beckham, who happened to be good at a fairly simple set of skills that millions of people will pay to see.

              If there is a relationship between wealth and hard work, it's most probably an inverse one.

      2. Magnus_Pym
        FAIL

        Re: All this pain might be worth it ...

        "Oh do grow up you idiot.. "

        I see that you buy into the whole government 'unemployed are all scum and are sucking the life blood out of the country' spin. or to put it another way it's always someone else's fault, divide and conquer is the mantra of government. As has already been pointed out so often that you would think everybody has seen it by now. Most welfare goes on pensions, most unemployed are trying hard to get jobs. If you 'euthanased' everyone in the country without a job it wouldn't make a dent in the tax bill you and I and all 'hard working' people pay.

        Your are either stupid, gullible or a government minister. Whichever it is you should keep you mouth shut to prevent people seeing what a twat you are.

  14. Jemma Silver badge

    The Secret Diary of Iain Duncan Smith

    Apologies to Cassandra Claire & LoTR secret diaries...

    Day 1: Have baaad hangover.. on reflection should not have drunk 15 jager shots on empty stomach. Resolved to make everybody as miserable as me.. feel oddly better..

    Day 4: Big cabinet meeting, suggested to education secretary that things in need of shake up & offered mates job lot of RM Nimbus for new schools IT. Gove delighted. Evil fun.. go me!

    Day 6: Dropped hint to Theresa that kicking out some 'terrorists' might distract the plans from acci-deliberate Police brutality. Mildly disturbed at the pin ups of Abu Qatada and the way she stares at metal claws.. court of human rights will kill her if she tries anything...

    Day 15: woke up in cold sweat at 3am. Eureka moment. The benefits system. The most pain & the most gain! What could possibly go wrong..?

    Day 20: Outsourced project to India. In retrospect project code 'white elephant' not wisest choice, although prescient.

    Day 200: benefits project unqualified disaster - more holes in system than in Titanic & Star Wars Prequel plot combined. That said other evil plans proceeding admirably. Gove universally loathed, unions swarming all over him like amorous orcs..

    Day 500: May have over egged the evil. Even rumors of new benefit system causing higher electoral attrition than Isandlwana. Still you can't make omelettes... being a cabinet minister means never having to say you're sorry..

    Day 720: There is a God ... spying story finally broke.. press tired of Qatada (Theresa not so much it seems). Has distracted from benefits debacle that deserves more of a panning than a door to door Le Creuset salesman.

    Day 721: Have admitted to self that one stop benefits shop not my finest hour. Evil plan seems to have rebounded. Not so much fun when poor the only ones not feeling the pain.

    Day 800: Released new system anyway, what the hell; it worked for Microsoft... now for my memoirs..

    Transcribers note: the text ends here and there is evidence of bloodstains...

  15. Wokstation

    Stories from March saying they're calculating UC Pathfinder claims by hand on spreadsheets shed light on the DWP statement:

    " The Universal Credit IT has been working well during the Pathfinder". Yes, because the qualifying criteria for the pilot are very tight, because you are having to input the lot onto spreadsheets...

  16. Shasta McNasty

    Pardon?

    "There needs to be some sort of review of IP addresses and the DWP needs to be at the forefront of next-generation cyber-security, which I don't believe they are anywhere near."

    Review of IP addresses? What exactly are you on about? This smells of a typical civil servant who hears some technical detail and then repeatedly spaffs it everywhere without having a clucking fue what they're talking about.

    And as for security. It was all there in the offering and it could have been tighter than a nun's chuff but the DWP didn't want to pay for it.

    I am so glad I don't have to deal with these retards anymore.

    1. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge
      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Pardon?

        For fucks sake, don't give them more money to piss away. Or if you do, have them run everything in SAP.

        1. LPF

          Re: Pardon?

          Good god not SAP, Jesus that will cost us what little money we have left!

      2. Shasta McNasty

        Re: Pardon?

        You might want to update that article. They're not unused, they're just not exposed to the internet.

        Some maybe at some point depending on the government needs.

    2. Kubla Cant Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: Pardon?

      some sort of review of IP addresses

      Because everybody knows that evil fraudsters always use the same IP addresses.

  17. Christoph Silver badge

    CYA

    The Universal Credit IT has been working well during the Pathfinder

    They may actually believe this. Because each layer of civil servants is polishing up the report from the previous layer before it goes up to the next layer, to make themselves look good.

    By the time it gets to the top the report is that everything is working fine, and it's only much later when the problems can't be disguised that the people at the top find out what's really been happening.

    1. Dave 15

      Re: CYA

      Thats the old one...

      The guy at the bottom says its a crock of shit...

      by the time it gets to the top it is a top quality product that will make everything grow - sure you could look it up on the old internet

  18. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Unhappy

    " calculating UC Pathfinder claims by hand on spreadsheets"

    And that brings to the second way the Universe has of telling you "You f**ked up."

    Hand entry and spreadsheets for a system designed to support millions of claimants.

    There must be someone with a)The necessary technical background and b)The necessary understanding of what this system is meant to do to realize this is wrong

    Sadly it's pretty clear they have no power to change it.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: " calculating UC Pathfinder claims by hand on spreadsheets"

      Evidently the claim procedure is "Open claim_template.xls, fill in the numbers in the coloured boxes, then remember to Save As applicant_nino.xls in your Z drive. DO NOT OVERWRITE THE TEMPLATE!"

      Beneft payments being issued by a batch job that opens every single xls file in that directory every night, and runs a special Excel VBA macro that concatenates a line to a CSV payments text file on the W drive...

  19. Flakey

    Department of Propaganda Memo

    "The Universal Credit IT has been working well during the Pathfinder" and in other news. the June tractor production quota has been met. Now get back to work plebs.

  20. Dave 15

    Questions

    What company was employed to build the IT system (which of the big boys), where was it built (UK, USA, India?). how much money has it cost (so far) and estimated cost by the end? I'd love to know this because I dare say there are many many small UK companies who would have done the job right for less using UK engineers in a fraction of the time but were overlooked in the purchasing decision because of the lack of foreign sales trips, back handers and of course 'seats on the board'

  21. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse Silver badge

    @ Dave 15 re Questions...

    More importantly and tellingly than "who built it" is who did the Requirements specification and high level design against those requirements?

    Classic project fail.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Monthly payments FAIL

    What incompetant single-braincell dumbass thought it was a good idea to pay everyone monthly?

    Seriously, do they have any fucking idea how badly it's going to screw up some people's lives?

    Imagine a 6 year old being given a larger than normal piece of chocolate cake and being told not to eat it all at once because that's all the good stuff they're getting for a whole week. How long do you think that cake will last.

    Those scummy payday loans companies must be rubbing their hands at the thought of everyone moving to montly payments, knowing full well that they're going to score big from some people who currently struggle to live on weekly & fortnight benefit payments.

    1. Mark McC
      FAIL

      Re: Monthly payments FAIL

      The decision to pay monthly is entirely arbitray. The UC system supports weekly and fortnightly payments (in as much as it supports anything). The Northern Ireland Assembly made it a condition of their acceptance of Universal Credit that weekly/fortnightly payments were possible, and the system is already set up to accomodate them. The rest of the UK is out of luck, however, even though they're using the same system.

    2. Daggersedge

      Re: Monthly payments FAIL

      Excuse me, people who have to go out and work manage to live on being paid monthly. It's called responsibility. It's called only spending what you can afford to spend.

      Benefit récipients are *adults* and they can damn well be expected to act like it. Why should they be babied? Why should they have it better than the people who *pay* for their benefits?

  23. Loyal Commenter Silver badge
    Holmes

    "the system may never live up to the promises made by Iain Duncan Smith, the scheme's greatest champion."

    Iain Duncan Smith? Full of shit? Whodathunkit?

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge
      Holmes

      It goes on to say...

      Our second source warned that the Universal Credit was in such poor shape that it could cost Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Iain Duncan Smith his job. "He is very exposed," the mole said. "What he is trying to do is quite admirable, yet the civil servants just aren't up to it. They wouldn't last a minute in the commercial world due to their poor work ethic, interpersonal skills and competency levels."

      Right. Sun shines out of IDS's behind, civil servants screwed everything up. Glad that's that sorted. Now what about the other government IT disasters?

      I'd be inclined to check how many RPMs each source which gets in contact with El Reg is doing before going to press (or whatever the web 2.0 equivalent is).

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How to sabotage a system so promising it threatens your career

    No bureaucratic empire building Machiavellian type wants a system which works so well it does them out of a job or reduces their influence within a great department of state or corporate bureacracy. What they want are systems so complex that an army of crats have to be employed to keep these running after a fashion. So we can expect normal system teething problems such as those described in a system which concerns cultural change perceived as a threat to be talked up to make it look as if the whole things a total mess and will never work.

    Outsiders probably can't know yet whether this particular new system will work well or not because we're outsiders and there are too many unknown variables concerning the mass of red tape it promises to do away with. The unknown and suspect motivations of insiders means early messages of doom shouldn't be accepted uncritically.

    Some of the systems which have been canned early in my experience were canned early because they promised to perform threateningly well at what they were designed for in contrast to the comfort of those who machinated against them.

  25. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Unhappy

    "Frankly evil out IDS out of a job"

    You appear to think that the complete failure of a ministers flagship policy is somehow cause for resignation.

    IDS is far to experienced a politician to make that sort of mistake.

  26. Crisp Silver badge

    Dear UK Government

    Please could you spend my tax money on people that can actually do the job they are hired to do?

  27. kyza

    Given that this contract has been managed by Accenture, IBM & HP, that sounds like a lot of private sector fuck ups.

    Altho according to this article:

    http://www.computerweekly.com/news/2240187478/Why-agile-development-failed-for-Universal-Credit

    initial procurement was fucked from the beginning. Wonder if either of the two whistleblowers quoted in this article were involved at this stage?

    1. Nick 6
      Mushroom

      Yes and No

      The contract has not been managed by any of those suppliers...it was managed (or otherwise) by the DWP. If this is a failure, it is a management failure (as almost all IT project failures are)

      All led by Iain Useless-Smith, who was too thin skinned to take advice, and too stupid and stubborn to back off the promised go-live date of the end of April. If he had sucked up the embarrassment of a delay to October, UC might have gone live with some coherent functionality and not be the cancelled £500 million failure which it will eventually become.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    "Let The Register know. We guarantee your anonymity"

    Are you still sure about that?

  29. This post has been deleted by its author

  30. JDX Gold badge

    "hold the hands" of dole claimants

    That's probably a good thing, a huge proportion of the UK population are not ready for such an online system, and by their very nature, those on the dole would tend to be in that proportion (speaking statistically).

  31. Frankee Llonnygog

    A simple solution to all Gov IT and defence procurement snafus

    Don't let Ministers or Top Brass write the spec. If you do let them write the spec, don't let them specify the delivery date. If you do let them set the delivery date, don't let them cap the budget. If you do let them cap the budget, don't let them increase the scope. If you do let them increase the scope, don't let them cut the budget. If you do let them cut the budget, don't let them bring delivery forward.

    Or, carry on as usual and allow all of the above.

    The results will be as usual: a large helping of infeasible, wrapped in impossible, with two scoops of unrealistic and a sprinkle of plain bloody bonkers on top.

  32. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    Unhappy

    Put it on the stage

    You couldn't could you? You really really couldn't. The audience would all walk out in the first 5 minutes because the story line was just too far-fetched.

  33. J.G.Harston Silver badge

    "He also alleged that absolutely fundamental and basic facts had been left out of the infrastructure, such as the scheduled change to minimum wage"

    Ah yes, I remember my first stock control database I wrote as a pimply teenager, littered with subtotal=unitprice*quantity*1.15 What do you mean, the rate of VAT can change? Surely "VAT" is a fundamental constant like "pi".

  34. Zmodem

    it wont work even if the system worked

    giving 1000s of herorin addicts and loosers £600 a month to pay rent themselves is tony blair and george w bush

    1. LinkOfHyrule
      WTF?

      wow

      I wish I knew what you mean but your comment is a bit too "tony blair and george w bush" for me to understand.

      1. Zmodem

        Re: wow

        st00pid.. none of the herorin addicts and proper l000ser will pay their own rent out of a single lump sum of benefit that is put into their bank account each month

        they will be all made homeless with in a few months unless they live in a housing association home, then it will take upto a year to evict them

        then crime and the homeless will go up and it will all go back to the 80s

        as now, you give the council benefit office your landlord details, they automatically pay them most of the time

        1. LinkOfHyrule

          Re: wow

          Luckily there aint that many smack heads knocking around so it shouldn't be too much of an issue. Those that do lose their home, well that could be the perfect chance to get them into a rehab centre. I still dont understand the W Bush and Blar bit though - were they on smack too?

  35. OzBob

    Do they publish the entitlements and criteria for benefits on a website anywhere?

    Then why don't some smug commenters start a crowd-sourced development project for an alternative benefits system?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Do they publish the entitlements and criteria for benefits on a website anywhere?

      Yes, this, please. I hope any smugtards also build the system with interfaces to local councils, HMRC, and payment gateways. And all relevant existing DWP systems. Oh, and make sure you have temporal capability so you can always show what the result "should" have been on a particular date given all the parameters valid on that date - whether it was input then or later on. Then roll it out to a bunch of people who can't concentrate for the 45 minutes it takes to fill in the form, or understand an IT system at all - plus the benefits claimants themselves.

      Also the security, don't forget the security - oh actually do forget security and fraud avoidance measures because there isn't time and we're not paying those prices.

      And please, please ensure you have the full support of several sub departments who all will be substantially cut back if the damn thing ever actually works and replaces the benefits they currently administer.

      Most importantly, make sure you deliver something - anything - on a date which the idiot minister announced off the top of his shiney bald head without having a scooby about how hard this is to actually do, and could never countenance changing because it would be embarassing.

  36. TheOldFellow

    GCHQ are the Govmint IT experts.

    If you want a govmint IT project to work, get GCHQ to do it. They seem to have no problem managing vastly vast amounts of data in all sorts of complex patterns, predicting who has WMD and stuff accurately and without any manual (or mental) input at all.

  37. plrndl
    FAIL

    When you computerise a broken "system", you get a system that breaks very fast, and jams up very solidly.

    The only reason anything in the civil service works, is that some people know how to break the rules to get a result. This insider information is not built into the computer model, which immediately fails, like all the previous government IT projects.

  38. Andy Davies

    " basic facts had been left out of the infrastructure, such as the scheduled change to minimum wage"

    items like the level of minimum wage aren't part of the infrastructure of an IT system - they're parameters!

    AndyD

  39. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Unhappy

    "HP, Accenture, Capgemini and IBM." According to ComputerWeekly

    It all begins to come clear.

    Good point about agile contracts (Set time and cost, but not features)

    But it seems they were "waterfall" contracts.

    Guess what. Waterfall contract (all stages, budgets and features agreed on day 1) --> waterfall development.

    Who would have thunk it?

    And holy s**t costs £2Bn --> £12.8Bn.

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