back to article Can ye spare any 'digital change', pal? Blighty's ailing court service can't wait to hear from you

Do you like drinking from poisoned chalices? Enjoy being paid below average for your skills? Britain's court service has just the job for you and, boy, it's a doozy. Those of a thicker-skinned persuasion with "a track record of successfully leading IT strategies and enterprise-wide architecture, with experience at scale in a …

  1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    Applicants ought to be Londoners... will consider people living as far afield as Wales provided they commit "to spending at least three days a week in London"

    And yet the problem is that vital systems "sit in splendid technological isolation, unable to talk to each other or anyone in the outside world".

    It might well be that someone working outside the Great Wen might have a more intimate knowledge of the issues involved in connecting multiple locations than someone sucked into the Whitehall bubble.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      My wife was working, some years ago, for a local authority who wanted their content on the internet but didn't think anyone outside their region should be able to view it.

      1. Halfmad

        Easy, ask them to input their post codes. If it doesn't match the list they don't get in. /s

  2. WoobieVonFruitbat

    Here is the actual job advert text

    Wanted: Office-holder to do some window-dressing on behalf of a senior civil servant who is looking bad and needs to look like they are trying hard to fix the problems in their department.

    Candidate will be able to say all the right things at interview with a nod and a wink while absolutely maintaining the core civil service ethos of p*ssing public money up against the wall as fast at HMRC can collect it, while going to lots of meetings and giving it the big 'I am' at all times.

    Candidate should have a proven track record of disastrous IT mismanagement in at least 2 large organisations and should have a lot of 'friends' in the big system integration companies who will latch on to them like leeches the moment they are appointed and help them to achieve the spending goals stated above.

    Any candidate who has a proven ability to actually get anything done, or worse, actually has any grasp whatsoever of IT will not be considered for this role.

    Interviews will be held on the 1st May but we already know who's going to get the job. It will be somebody that the chief exec used to go horse-riding with.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Here is the actual job advert text

      To be fair much of that can be said about roles in the private sector too. The difference being that they usually manage to cover it up :-)

      In fact you often get rewarded. I worked on a project which was three years late and millions over budget and the bloke in charge got a bonus and awarded manager of the year!!!!!!

      In my experience the IT people in the civil service are underpaid which leads to a lot of the good ones leaving (I doubled my salary many years ago when I left, whether I'm a "good one" is for others to judge) but the biggest problem is the incompetent nitwits in government who can't provide a clear requirement, and constantly move the goal posts. Again, in my experience, you are not encouraged to question or point out problems, even if you provide helpful solutions..... I'm so glad to be out of all that crap even if it was years ago!!!!

  3. SVV Silver badge

    They actually have a Business As Usual Programme?

    Surely that woud be unnecessary, as yoiu'd just keep going about your business as, usual? No "programme" or extra cost needed.

    As for the judge's remark that the current tech belongs in the Science Museum : that place is only for great and noteworthy innovations, and I doubt that the courts IT system meets that requirement. I certainly wouldn't want it to displayed to the world as an example of just what great stuff we can come up with.

  4. Collin Coleman

    ..."complaining that vital systems "sit in splendid technological isolation, unable to talk to each other or anyone in the outside world""

    They've clearly done this deliberately to stop the Cylons from infiltrating them. Networking them would be madness; why won't anyone listen to Judge Adama on this?

    1. Glen 1 Bronze badge

      Re: Cylons

      It has happened before, it will happen again.

      So say we all.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If only there was already a system that runs a legal case file digitally, with support for automating processes, with integration's to every system on the face of the planet, that is widely used by the legal industry already that includes a portal that allows various third parties to access selected data, and also allows you to upload and digitally sign things while meeting all of the stringent legal requirements of the legal sector.

    Oh, that'll be Eclipse Legal's Proclaim, recently bought by Crapita to enter the legal software industry so it's even now owned by a government usual supplier.

    Eclipse would sell you a perpetual license for £1000 per user, and probably with a further discount on that if you were buying 17,033 licenses assuming that you have a negotiator somewhat more competent than most civil servants or the PM who manages to reduce the price below the starting point. Yet, assuming they didn't then the total cost of the software would be £17,033,000.00

    So 17 million plus some loose change, and you have the software required which comes with exceedingly user friendly and easy to use tools to create your own workflows that already have several thousand people available to do consulting to know how to use them effectively.

    Scaling up the costs of moving a mid sized law firm to Proclaim, the entire job should be doable for ballpark £35 million, and would require about four months, assuming that the processes already exist and that the end locations have either a wireless network for mobile devices or desktops already in place.

    1. woodcruft

      The HMCTS Digitisation Plan

      Yet, assuming they didn't then the total cost of the software would be £17,033,000.00

      Yes, but you need a grossly inflated budget of £140 million so that large amounts of it can go offshore to some Caribbean company subject to somewhat limited disclosure rules.

      Said company then pays another company held by the family & mates of whomever signed out the money from the Treasury - for some IP or something bogus - and then "invests" it back in the UK in something like Westminster property.

      Of course, the digitisation of HMCTS ends up a monumental clusterfuck because the budget has been blown.

      But if you're the crook(s) you've had so much 'win' - loads of money plus an even bigger failure of a justice system to try and hold you to account!

      I wish I was a British politician.

      Oh, wait a minute, no I don't....they're human vermin.

  6. The Nazz Silver badge

    £140,000 pa

    At times like this, i'm curious as to what remuneration (total remuneration) such as HMCTS chief Susan Acland-Hood and the Government Digital Service's head honcho, Kevin Cunnington receive.

    Any links to this info anyone?

    1. macjules Silver badge

      Re: £140,000 pa

      Most likely around the £200k mark. She was previously at HM Treasury which is well-known for its pay being much higher than any other department.

  7. The Nazz Silver badge

    Arse about face, as per usual.

    re https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-44628179 Especially the paragraphs below the bullet points in the "Gross Exaggerations" section as made by the outgoing president of the High Court's family division, Sir James Munby and his successor, Sir Andrew McFarlane.

    Sort out the current workload first, reduce it by 90% by removing those parents and legal advisers who bring false claims and cases* and it should be much simpler to develop the IT system thereafter.

    *Of course, subsequent perjury cases may increase the criminal workload for a short while, but not for long.

    Yes, i'm aware that the above refers to the Family Division, but i'm sure (in fact absolutely certain) that there are, to use SJM's terminology, "vices" in other branches/divisions.

  8. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Unhappy

    So once again someone thinks a business change programe starts (and ends) with IT

    Fu**wits.

    The BOTE spec for this would be.

    1) Secure sharing (and transfer) of documents. So E2E encryption, audit trails.

    2) Secure diary functions of relevant staff and institutions. Including various deadlines for evidence submission for various case types.

    3) Ideally automated data sharing with "external" systems. In this context that includes (at least) police services, probation service, Borders, prisons etc

    Which all points at a browser neutral system with minimal (ideally nothing) loaded on users PC's except the web pages.

    But that's the obvious stuff. What are the long term goals? What practices do you want to encourage? What to suppress ?

  9. Jamie Jones Silver badge
    Happy

    £140,000?

    £140,000? I'm able to screw up everything for only £100,000! Or would I have a better chance if I said £200,000? - Give me a call!

  10. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge

    I've got no experience of

    this type of project and am completely clueless about a major IT project such as this.

    But I already know the people making the decision, plus my children goto the same private school as their kids which makes me an ideal candidate

    Also I am prepared to kiss ass, deliver mealy mouthed apologies when things go tits up, and take the money and run leaving some other poor idiot to take the fall for my cockups

    There, that looks about right

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