Parliament Spends £500,000 on Software They Could Get Free

New figures released by the House of Commons Commission today reveal that parliament is spending £500,000 of taxpayers’ money on basic computer services that could be provided for free elsewhere. ‘Office 365’ is a service offered by Microsoft which hosts cloud versions of Word, Excel, and Outlook, as well as “some new tools accessible once a user’s e-mail box has been migrated to Microsoft 365”. Initially only 12 MP signed up to the new system, with some tech-phobic members confused by the changes:

“We have received some negative feedback about the colour scheme of Outlook 2013 and about the new location of file/print/save buttons in Office 2013; similar feedback was received from House staff. In response PICT have produced guidance for staff on how to darken the colour scheme in Outlook and have been assured by Microsoft that they are working to address the interface issues in future upgrades.”

What Guido cannot understand, however, is why parliament is spending half a million pounds of taxpayer cash on Microsoft’s word processor, spreadsheet software and email service, when the equivalent services are all provided free elswehere. Many MPs already use other software that offers everything that Office 365 does, all online, free of charge. The men in tights are claiming spending all this money will save them over £2 million in the long run. But they needn’t be spending any money on it at all…

UPDATE: Parliamentary staff who have been forced to use the new system agree that it does not provide value for money:

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