British Gov IT Project
Once upon a time.....
Under budget, on time and savings delivered.
......And they lived happily ever after.
Work and Pensions Secretary of State Iain Duncan Smith admitted for the first time today that the government's Universal Credit system is unlikely to hit its original 2017 deadline, following costly technology implementation blunders. The one-dole-to-rule-them-all project has been hamstrung by poor management, bad decision- …
"The one-dole-to-rule-them-all project has been hamstrung by poor management, bad decision-making and cash wasted on IT assets that have now been written off to the tune of £140m in taxpayer money to date"
So essentially like every government IT project before it. CSC bidding for the next contract? Or maybe G4S?
Not quite every government project, way back in the 90's we delivered the bathing water quality system on time and within budget and this was after a massive request\spec expansion that occurred after we had delivered the project, and they figured out that what they had asked was not what they wanted (as usual). The original only satisfied the Brussels reporting requirement which was the original spec.
It's not a case of only 140 million being wasted - it's that only 140 million of the money that has been splurged on it so far has been written off.
Normally with government IT
cock-ups projects, the money doesn't get written off until the end, when we essentially get a dice-roll to see if the whole lot gets scrapped. I wouldn't take this as an indicator of things going well, and I'd hazard a guess that the dice-roll that is to come at the end of this current government won't fall in favour of this white elephant.
Lose £10.00 out of the till and you're on a written warning. Lose hundreds of millions of pounds of Tax payers money on schemes to punish the poor, you get a pat on the back a 'gold plated' pension and a Peerage. I've said it before, he doesn't want to be remembered for being a failure, he wants to be remembered for being a 'Bastard' he don't give a fuck about the cost (its not coming out of his pocket) just so long as the last entry on his CV of life doesn't read 'Failure' cos up to now that's all he's been.
(icon for him, and the DWP)
While the implementation is obviously going quite wrong, the core idea is really quite sound.
The way that the current benefits system is constructed is a poverty trap. Once you are in, its really difficult to get out.
The reason is that you received many different benefits at once, housing, job seekers, income support etc. When you earn a pound more than the threshold, a pound is removed from each of your benefits. So earning a pound leaves you several pounds worse off. You have to get a large increase in income at once to get beyond the hump, essentially replacing all the benefit payments in one go, or you end up worse off for working harder. So, a poverty trap.
The core idea with this is to have a single benefit calculation that tapers properly, so earning that pound is actually worth it.
If it could work just like that, it will be better. If.
Actually I'd have to say the opposite. My wife and I tried completing some child benefit forms because she was going from full time to part time to look after our baby and f**k me if it wasn't a nightmare. One government website said we were entitled to this, one said we weren't but were entitled to something else, another government website said we were entitled to nothing. And HMRC wants to know my work history and payroll details?...You do my sodding income tax, you've got the details there on your system under my NI number!
The system is there to discourage you from applying, this new system, with just one application, will be so easy to apply for more people will be getting hooked.
Also universal credit is just the individual schemes merged into one system, your universal payment is still made up of these smaller payments so its very likely you'll still be stuck in the same situation.
"The system is there to discourage you from applying"
methinks you overestimate the system. Given we're talking about (another) gov system faIlure, had it been a system designed and implemented to "discourage" applying for benefit, it would have had to be in a "fail" mode, on by default. So, to fail discouraging you, it would actually have to encourage you, i.e. you (and all others) would have applied... At which point the sub-system of the dis-encouraging system would fail (by definition, a gov-designed systems fail), by crashing, sending your application to 300 mln Chinese penis enlargement companies, planting the pendrive on the nearest publicly accessible bench.. None of which has happened, has it? Which means, nay, it PROVES, that the system actually WORKS!
"[My wife] was going from full time to part time to look after our baby and f**k me if it wasn't a nightmare"
Your wife took time off work to look after the baby *and* to f**k you?!
I appreciate she could probably look after the baby herself, but wouldn't f**king you require *you* to take time off work as well, or was she planning on popping in to your workplace and doing it there? Were you planning on doing your job at the same time this was happening?!
Under these circumstances, I can see why she might have been worried that f**king you would be a nightmare!
It's great that she apparently didn't go off that sort of thing after the birth, but this does sound very demanding...
The scheme is all about 'incentivising' work. I was on the dole in the 80's and got 'incentivised' a lot. And i can tell you it had fuck all to do with saving the country money, or doing me any favours.
My take on 'the benefit trap' is that most people getting into work, after a potentially long absence don't have the advantage of smith in that they don't get to start at the top with no discernible talent. So the trap is more about the piss poor wages of the worst off workers. Exacerbated by the massive cost of housing driven by the last 30 years worth of house price inflation (err i mean economic miracle of ever increasing house prices)
Even if you have a shitty job stacking shelves on the night shift, for a 40 hour week you should get paid enough to say to the state, thanks for the help, but now i don't need it, i can pay my own way (and have some tax while you are at it)' apparently the fact that this is not so is all the fault of the worker. It's scrounging claimants every time, never exploitative employers or landlords.... i wonder why that is?
Agreed about it sounding like a good idea.
In all areas of government (and life!) we should be striving for simplification, simplification, simplification.
This very much applies to IT.
I wish IDS good luck. I think his stint living in a tower block has given him some good insight.
Let's wish him luck and hope the project works.
"The core idea with this is to have a single benefit calculation that tapers properly, so earning that pound is actually worth it."
Except that it wont.... If you are disabled, or able but on minimum wage you will lose out.
"So earning a pound leaves you several pounds worse off."
....and will continue to be the case.....
Everytime I see another IT cockup from Govt that *we* pay for I am reminded of something from a P.J. O'Rourke book about the 4 ways to spend money.
"If you are spending someone else's money on someone else, who cares?"
I know this is not a magic solution, but if Govt contracts had a default clause that all the source code for these failed "spend until you bleed" projects became the public property? Perhaps we would get solutions that were more likely to converge on the correct solution, rather than the random walk these inevitably seem to be....
> Because all of the projects that ever go wrong/late/over-budget are govt ones, right chaps?
Undoubtedly not, but one failed Government IT project is likely to cost about 10+ times of that of an ordinary company's failed IT project, and will affect a proportionately large number of people.
It's the economy of scale...
nosir, the private sector has its share of fuckups. It's just the scale of gov failures (or exposure to public, ehm... scrutiny, perhaps) which, like a beacon of fuckability, makes them stand out and shine in the dark.
#1: Mr Smith of Flat A, back, 102 Pembroke Av, Stroud..........NI# UY878302D
#2: Mr Smith of Flat A, front, 102 Pembroke Av, Stroud...........NI# BJ967543G
I thought we were all uniquely identifiable from age 16....could be wrong.
(NI= National Insurance Number.....you only get one!)
That we are now so used to this type of cock-up, that it is now accepted as the norm rather than the exception.
It still staggers me the amount of money involved in these contracts and how little accountability these fuckwits have. If a private corporation has a department that wrote off a cool 140 mil, heads would roll! Slimey fucking politicians, waste of air...
Running a department that is consistently being pulled up for abuse of statistics we are now supposed to believe they are getting the maths right ?
Its been a dogs dinner from start to finish with this man employing every trick in the book to have us believe he was "on top of things" however true to form has a list of excuses and blames others when it obviously isnt working.....
Fortunately the private firms that are involved still get their ludicrous payouts even in failure, cant have the private sector suffering can we.....
Because the unions will fight every case for unfair dismissal.
Take portsmouth city council's legal eagle a few years ago... cocked up the contract for the millenium tower, ended up costing the council an extra £5 000 000,including about £1 000 000 in extra legal fees and the tower delayed being finished until 2005.
His reward was early retirement with full pension and lump sum because it was alledgedly cheaper than fighting an unfair dismissal case....
You can tell its early days because this article fails to mention IBM, Hewlett Packard, BT and (mainly) Accenture who are delivering the system.
I guess stage one pissed off is to say the project is overdue and over budget, stage two is to name the contractors and stage three is to make stupid public comments like "you'll never work in this town again" (whilst signing yet more contracts with the same people).
"cash wasted on IT assets that have now been written off to the tune of £140m in taxpayer money to date"
Only in government can you piss £140m up the wall, with more to come most likely, and still have your job! If you've managed to make that a much of a mess of it when there aren't even 1,000 people on it last I heard, then you need to go work on the friers at McDonald's which may be more responsibility on a level more suited to your talents.
Anyone else, bar a banker maybe, loosing that sort of money would lose a lot more than their job, probably their liberty too by landing in jail. Seems like being a minister, elected democratically by the people for the people of-course, is the ultimate form of Limited Liability Company, even your job is immune from being touched, for at-least five years whilst you rake in some decent dough on a generous MP's wage until the next election. If voted out, you can then get some cushy job paying over £100k a year working a few days a week, if that, advising, more often than not, a bank, as one now has inside knowledge of government to 'help' their new employer, i.e. how get into government projects guaranteed to be cash cows, even if they are doomed to failure from the start. Nice.
so many comments wading in and kicking the project. Are the commentators suggesting the old system was better, or that they personally could have done a better job?
Who knows how many poorly specified private sector projects overrun and fail year on year?
Its rare for successful projects (public or private) to generate much news, & its always the public sector failures that make the front page headlines.
You must all admit that the old system needed over hauling. Those private sector organisations involved in the project all have un-news worthy success in delivering private sector projects. I'm not defending them or the project, just stating the obvious that $hit happens and unless you have the stomach to drive things through we'll have the same $hity systems for decades to come.
People aren't arguing against the said system or concept, there is little argument that such improvements are needed. The problem that folks with a little common sense have is the the implementation farce that normally happens - all we hear is writing off x hundred million or y billion pounds for this or that, and it's delayed by a further z years...
Does not leave much confidence in the folks involved in the whole process... This is what happens when you get a bunch of suite monkeys to design and build a technology solution. They focus on the cornflower blue icons rather than getting the fucking thing to work!
On Monday Iain Duncan Smith will have to explain how much money will be written-off to reset project for second time this year.
You say £140m - the DWP has only 'fessed up to £34m so far...
... a source tells me that, by co-incidence, on Monday the DWP will slip out its annual accounts which it has been holding back for 6 months. These will for the first time state the amount written off on Universal Credit.
£140m? More? We will know the facts on Monday...
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