EU Wastes £800,000 on “Too Big” TVs

In June the EU Parliament spent £800,000 replacing TVs in MEP offices with massive 43″ TVs. Now they realise the TVs are too big, and have offered to move them further away or to replace them with smaller ones all over again.

MEPs have been emailed by the European Parliament’s tech support team admitting the error:

“During the replacement of the TV in your office, we realised… the TV might be too close to the viewer. If you would prefer to move the new TV to a different position, or replace it by a smaller model, please feel free to contact the ITEC Service Desk for Members.”

UKIP MEP Jonathan Bullock tells Guido that this is “Another complete waste of money and another reason we are leaving.” Good to see our £40 billion divorce payment will be put to good use…

HS2: All Aboard the Gravy Train

High Speed Two Limited is the private firm “responsible for developing and promoting the UK’s new high speed rail network”. It is wholly funded by the taxpayer through a government grant-in-aid under the umbrella of the Department for Transport. HS2 Ltd this morning released its corporate purchasing card statements for the second quarter of the year. They reveal the gravy train summer enjoyed by rail pen-pushers.

Despite the company having its own office space in flashy Canary Wharf, £3,836 was paid to “Canary Wharf” for “staff training events” in April alone. This figure is additional to rent and it is not clear from the statements what precisely it was spent on.

£3,661 went on a health and safety training course organised by Astutis, “Creating a positive health, safety and environmental culture at your organisation”.

In June, a £718 cancellation fee for a staff member’s private healthcare appointment with BUPA was charged to the taxpayer.

£710 was spent on HR software called ‘TeamMood‘ – this allows managers to “follow the mood at the team level. It also allows people to be more sincere about their feelings.” 

HS2 is already £7 billion over budget, you don’t need to pay Guido £710 for him to tell you that’s a mood killer.

Head in the Cloud: Whitehall Offering £1,000-a-Day for IT Director

Wolke - englische Pfund 3

An unnamed government department is offering £1,000 a day for an IT Director to run their cloud operation. That’s more than twice as much as the Prime Minister gets paid…

In exchange for the princely sum, the new director will be expected to ‘motivate’ staff and oversee changes to the software used by the department. It can be inferred from the advert that the department advertising the vacancy have recently been sold a lot of very expensive software packages and are desperate to hire some sort of unicorn figure to cobble them together into something useful. Prospective cloud computing kingpins need to get their applications in by Thursday…

Parliament Computer Meltdown: £61,000 Comms Chief Wanted


Seasoned parliamentary staffers will know that IT on the estate is grinding to a halt, with most bag carriers having to work on five year old computers.

Techno hears that researchers are spending several hours on the phone to the Parliamentary Digital Service – the team responsible for all IT support in Parliament – each week because their computers, bought for £1,200 in 2010, are no longer fit for purpose. Apparently it takes 20 minutes to get through because so many staffers are calling up to complain.

So they will be delighted to learn that the PDS is hiring a new comms chief… on £61,255.

Almost as if they are expecting a deluge of bad news to deal with…

BBC Offers £230 Million To Look After Its ‘Interconnections’

license fee

The BBC have taken what they believe to be an important step in their bid to get better value from their IT contracts by offering a £230 million contract for someone to manage their ‘connectivity services.’ The winner of the contract will have to provide the the “interconnections” that support the Beeb’s IT networks and broadcast signal kit.

The contract is being offered as part of the BBC’s move away from monolithic single supplier deals – the state broadcaster has spent billions on IT over the past decade. The “connectivity services” deal is one of seven new contracts to replace their previous mega-deal with Atos.

Delays in rolling out the new contracts have already cost the BBC £285 million.

They seem confident that the telly tax booty will keep rolling in..

Update: A nice man from the BBC has written in to complain that the line “Delays in rolling out the new contracts have already cost the BBC £285 million” is misleading as the £285 million they bunged Atos was a “significant saving on what we otherwise would have been spending.” Techno is happy to clarify that the £285 million of telly tax booty the Beeb was forced to shell out after they cocked up their introduction of a ‘tower model’ for their tech framework was indeed less then they would have been paying under their previous £2 billion contract with ASOS.

No Hands On DECC


The Department of Energy & Climate Change paid £600 to promote just one job on the business social network LinkedIn. Despite the advert being seen by 4,162 people, the number of people who clicked on it was precisely zero.

According to an FoI request, the cash was shelled out to the recruitment agency Penna who “promoted” the vacancy on LinkedIn for them.

Efficient, data driven and on the ball with new technology; it’s everything we’ve come to expect from the DECC.


Whitehall Wastes £107 Million on Failed Technology Projects


Think spectacular waste on government IT projects is a thing of the past thanks to Francis Maude? Think again. The government has wasted £107 million on failed IT projects over the last year according a report released today by the Taxpayers’ Alliance. Here are the headline acts of Whitehall IT incompetence:

  • A numpty in the Department of Health didn’t negotiate a reduction in service charge to an IT contact in case sites were decommissioned early. Cost to the tax payer £4,707,543.
  • The Department for Work and Pensions paid for a computer system that would allow benefits claimants to claim online. The ‘MyBOL’ project has been made largely redundant by the rollout of Universal Credit. Cost to the tax payer £27,172,000.
  • The big daddy of IT cock ups over the last year was the failed attempt by the Ministry of Justice to develop a centralised HR system in house. Their efforts have been made redundant by the new government wide Next Generation Shared Services strategy. Cost to taxpayer £56,300,000.

£107 million could have paid the wages of an extra 5,002 nurses for the year…

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Quote of the Day

Responding to Corbyn’s statement that the US should have arrested ISIS leader, al-Baghdadi, John Mann bluntly tweeted:

Baghdadi blew himself up with a suicide belt. An arrest might have been slightly difficult in these circumstances.”


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