NHSX Hiring New Spin-Doctors, Bluffer Boss Still Not Fired

After the embarrassing £11.8 million failure of the NHSX app, far from firing the Oxford bluffer in charge as any reader of Dominic Cummings’ blogs would assume, the organisation is instead hiring new communications professionals, along with ‘Head of Delivery’ posts on £90,000 a year. If at first you don’t succeed, hire more spin-doctors and pretend you were right all along

mdi-timer 2 July 2020 @ 16:28 2 Jul 2020 @ 16:28 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Failed NHSX Covid App Cost £11.8 Million

The health minister in the Lords, Lord Bethell, has revealed the failed NHSX COVID-tracing app has cost the taxpayer £11.8 million. Millions that could have been saved had anyone in government – especially the CEO of NHSX Matthew Gould – listened to all the experts saying the app was never going to work…

UPDATE: Assuming a £100 per hour rate for developers that equates to 118,000 man hours. Which seems impossible. Even if we double the rate to £200 per hour that suggests 59,000 man hours. How many people were working on the project for 3 months? This needs auditing…

mdi-timer 22 June 2020 @ 16:39 22 Jun 2020 @ 16:39 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Boss of NHSX Should Be Fired Over App Fiasco

Matthew Gould is the CEO of ‘NHSX’, the Quango set up to “foster innovation” in the NHS, despite the prior existence of NHS digital, who already had the same mandate. Another expensive layer of civil servants with little or no tech expertise in the NHS.

Gould is not a techie, he is a former UK ambassador to Israel and a career diplomat with no background in the private sector or technology. Gould is an old school friend of George Osborne. Osborne had former Cabinet Secretary Jeremy Heywood appoint Gould to a role at DCMS despite the lack of relevant experience. Gould likes to crow about the ‘UK-Israel tech hub’ he set up when UK ambassador to Israel. At DCMS, Gould was supposed to manage government relations with ‘GAFAM’ (Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon and Microsoft). He spent a lot of taxpayers’ money flying business class to California, where he would apologise for Brexit and then berate them about data privacy issues. Needless to say, GAFAM’s senior execs like Zuckerberg ignored Gould’s requests for meetings and fobbed him off on PR people like Nick Clegg. Gould felt slighted and maintains a grudge against GAFAM.

Nonetheless, Osborne encouraged Matt Hancock to appointed Gould to be ‘CEO’ of NHSX. His appointment was greeted with a collective sigh of despair across the tech-industry that a self-declared ‘tech bluffer’ with no real experience got the £150,000 job. “Let’s be clear” as Matt Hancock likes to say, it is Matthew Gould that has really screwed up the NHS Covid tracing app. Apple is not, as he is trying to spin, to blame.

Gould chose to pursue a policy of “Build rather than Buy” against the advice of everyone who did not work for him. You had two of the world’s largest technology companies joining forces to develop a decentralised, privacy-focused application that most of the world has rolled out in order to trace Coronavirus outbreaks. On the other hand, you have Gould’s team at NHSX, within a government department, outsourcing the build to external contractors based in Switzerland. Who could have predicted it would go wrong? Everyone.

The decision to build the software rather than buy it in – especially as it was already close to existing at the time – was Gould’s decision. It was a decision made for his and NHSX’s glory more than the public interest. Dominic Cummings when he was outside government would rail in blogs about the culture of the Civil Service, where Oxbridge bluffers with no clue would fail and face no consequences. Gould, who read philosophy and divinity at Cambridge, is a classic example. Gould should be fired over this fiasco…

mdi-timer 19 June 2020 @ 14:50 19 Jun 2020 @ 14:50 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
NHS Switches to Apple-Google Model for Contact Tracing App

In a massive u-turn that Guido repeatedly warned would have to come about, the NHS has finally given up on the bug filled, battery draining, and privacy invading, in-house, centralised app it was building, instead opting for the Apple-Google decentralised model Guido has long advocated. Finally. 

Back in May, Guido reported that the NHS “bizarrely rejected the decentralised, secure and intelligently designed Apple-Google contact tracing framework in favour of a centralised approach.” Guido’s experts then comprehensively rebutted the health departments arguments, concluding by saying:

“Why is the NHS trying to develop its own entire infrastructure and app rather than use a system developed by some of the world’s best software engineers at Apple and Google? Why do you think you know better than the people who literally wrote the operating system? We hope the Government has not got it wrong on this IT project this time…

Looks like the trial on the Isle of Wight did not really go well…

Matthew Lesh, the Head of Research at the ASI tells Guido

“We have lost crucial time, but it is welcome that the Government has listened to public concerns to get this important project right. It was always folly for NHSX to try building an app from scratch. Despite assertions, it was never going to work as well or ensure privacy would be protected as the Apple-Google framework.

The decentralised, Apple-Google approach will protect privacy, work across borders, limit battery drain, and effectively work in the background. A more effective app will help protect the NHS and save lives as winter approaches.”

Better late than never…

mdi-timer 18 June 2020 @ 13:47 18 Jun 2020 @ 13:47 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Coronavirus Per Capita: How the UK’s Regions Compare

Official statistics show that Wales and Scotland, despite being the two least densely populated countries in the union, have a higher number of coronavirus cases per capita. The story with testing sees Scotland far behind England in ramping up testing rates. Yesterday Scotland carried out 2,056 tests, compared to England’s 100,678. Adjusted for population, Scotland is testing a quarter as much of the population as England.

Little wonder that Matt Hancock today announced that anyone, anywhere in the UK who is experiencing symptoms can now get a test from NHS.UK/coronavirus. Pretty rich for Welsh Labour and the SNP to complain about England’s handling of the crisis when the UK Government is now coming to the rescue of the underperforming parts of the UK…

mdi-timer 18 May 2020 @ 16:11 18 May 2020 @ 16:11 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Out-Of-Date Coronavirus Advice: There’s an App for That

Guido has been leading the charge in pointing out the flaws with the government’s new Coronavirus app currently being trialled in the Isle of Wight. While the media were all focusing on the technical back end problems, one co-conspirator with access to the app gets in contact to point out it is still linking users to the out-of-date lockdown advice, withdrawn on May 11th. They have got round this issue by posting a re-direct on the old web page instead of directing app users to the right page. The good news is 65% of Isle of Wighters have now downloaded the app; the bad news is they’re all receiving the wrong information…

mdi-timer 18 May 2020 @ 10:39 18 May 2020 @ 10:39 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
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