Thursday, 21 January 2010

Return to tender

Call me naive - and I expect you might well do so after this tale - but I always thought contracting out government services to the private sector involved a civil servant, wearing a grey suit and a stiff upper lip, diligently pouring over the strengths and weaknesses of rival bids whilst Her Majesty the Queen kept a royal eye on him via her portrait hanging on the wall of a Whitehall office.

Well, my cosy, complacent image was completely shattered when I read the saga of how the Ministry of Justice has tried to procure a case and document management system for the United Kingdom's spangly new Supreme Court. Yes, some civil servants were involved but it seems even the procurement and tendering process was put out to tender, meaning one private company was paid to powerfully determine which other private company would provide our legal wigs with IT kit.

The whole tale raises a plethora of further questions and journalist Rupert White doesn't shy away from raising them in his investigation ran in the Law Society Gazette. The MoJ hasn't satisfactorily answered whether its IT procurement was overpriced and poorly conducted. 

The investigation sheds welcome light on how taxpayers' money is spent behind closed doors...and perhaps also partly explains why former BBC newsreader Moira Stuart constantly pops up during TV ad breaks these days politely demanding on behalf of the Inland Revenue that we complete our tax returns by the end of the month. 

Click on link to Law Society Gazette to read the full story.

Paul Coleman, London, January 2010.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Naive... :)