Government Wastage Revisited

Hello, you haven’t heard from us for a while, but that’s not because we don’t care any more, we care just as passionately as before if not more so, we’ve both been a little busy lately, that’s all.

Two things have come to our notice this week that made us sit up and take notice again, and we feel that we should let you know as well, just in case you didn’t.

Firstly our old friend Iain Duncan Smith and his Department of Work and Pensions.  It seems that they are quite likely to have to scrap their entire IT system for Universal Credit and start again from scratch.

£300 Million wasted. #Austerity? Not in Whitehall apparently.

A review by Universal Credit director general Howard Shiplee will apparently recommend two options for the future of the IT developed so far, which go even further than previous reports have suggested.

Option one would mean scrapping all the work done so far, thereby admitting it is not fit for purpose, and bringing most of the development of new IT systems in-house under the control of the Government Digital Service (GDS).

Option two would involve continuing to use some of the existing IT to support the current Pathfinder pilot projects, but developing new systems for the full roll-out – effectively delaying any decision to throw away all the work completed so far.

Option 1? Option 2?  Both of them seem to involve scrapping everything at some point, whatever.  The Cabinet Office, which controls GDS, is understood to favour the first option, while the DWP prefers to continue with the current IT for as long as possible. Two branches of the same government with opposing views, where have I heard that before?

The final decision will probably be made later this month by the Ministerial Oversight Group for the troubled welfare reform programme, led by Secretary of State for Work and Pensions,  Iain Duncan Smith.

The National Audit Office (NAO) said in a highly critical report on Universal Credit in September that £303m had been spent so far on IT. Of that amount, the DWP has already admitted to writing off £34m of IT work, although that figure is likely to end up even higher whatever happens.

Labour’s shadow secretary of state for work and pensions Rachel Reeves wrote to the Prime Minister last week, urging him to “start taking responsibility for this fiasco”. She added: “David Cameron has serious questions to answer about how he has allowed things to get to this stage and how his complacent, incompetent and out-of-touch government has wasted scandalous amounts of money on a half-baked plan IT now can’t deliver.”

Don’t sit on the fence Rachel, what do you really mean?

But if all of the IT were to be scrapped, the NAO report suggests that the final figure for the write-off would be in excess of £300m.

Most of that money has been spent with the four key IT suppliers for the project – HP, IBM, Accenture and BT.

The other piece of disastrous news that caught my eye this week was in relation to my old favourite – Aircraft Carriers.

The cost of two new aircraft carriers being built for the Royal Navy is expected to be almost twice the original estimate, the government is expected to confirm this week.

In the latest budget, the Ministry of Defence is set to estimate the cost of the two ships at £6.2bn.

£6.2 BILLION. What on earth are they doing? How many hospitals, schools, police officers etc etc could be funded by just the difference in cost between that and the original. Six years ago, when the contract was approved, costs were put at £3.65bn

The shadow defence secretary, Labour’s Vernon Coaker, said: “This is the latest in a series of financial fiascos in the MoD under David Cameron.  It’s that word fiasco again (see above).

This government seem to be very good at cut cut cut in just about every public sector. We must all pull together, this is a national crisis, a time of severe austerity, and all of these cuts have to be in place before 2015 because we know we don’t stand a snowball’s chance of being re-elected.

Whilst, at the the very same time, they are increasing their salaries, increasing their pensions, and their expenses have almost returned to the excesses of the bad old days.  Only a few days ago was there news about how they were claiming for gas and electricity in their second homes, and as one of my Twitter colleagues put it “Why do they need to do that, because if they’re heating their second home they’re not heating their main home, or cooking etc?”

So nothing has really changed since we spoke last. We are most definitely NOT All In It Together and the ConDem government that NOBODY voted for has shown just how arrogant and uncaring they can be.

Trouble is, it’s left me the dilemma, Who the hell do I vote for in 2015?

Answers on a Postcard please, assuming that Royal Mail still exists when you read this.

Today I am angry

Nothing new here, typical arrogance of the London Authorities, common practice to fill the auditoria when debates such as this were happening to make the press think it was a popular debate and to keep out the riff raff.

Time for a change.

Thoughts of a Wolf in Sheep's Clothing

ImageThe day started well. I got up and travelled to City Hall to support the Fire Fighters of London in their struggle against Fire Cuts.  By the time I arrived the chamber was full so I joined many fire fighters in the lobby. Many had come from end of shifts or prior to shifts to be there. They waited good humouredly.  Then it was revealed that many of the seats in the chamber were filled by what seemed to be plants. A bit like human filibustering. Paranoid we were told by @JamesCleverly via twitter. Really? The chamber usually full is it?

To add insult to injury the TV in the lobby showing the meeting had the sound turned off. Even after polite requests the sound was not put on.

I went off for a coffee. The meeting finished. strangely the sound was now audible on the foyer TV.

We already…

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Hypocrisy and the Royal Mail

Your Royal Mail is safe in our hands, it is protected by the Law. Oh Really?

RetiredAndAngry

My Bullshit Meter swung violently up to 11 this morning.

I was unfortunate enough to catch the Government Minister for Being a Pillock assure the British Public that the 6 days a week service provided by the Royal Mail was protected by law and the public had nothing to fear from the upcoming sale of the Royal Mail.  This is surely the same ConDem Government that couldn’t change pensions for existing officers etc so THEY CHANGED THE LAW.

This has to be the most bald-faced cynicism imaginable and completely assumes that the British Public are, indeed, pillocks (which they most certainly are not).

But here is what is very unusual about this share sale. It is taking place at a time when the CWU union is balloting its 125,000 Royal Mail members on a strike, over pay, pension changes and post-privatisation terms and conditions of work.

As Royal Mail…

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News – Coastguard SOS

The fight to save UK Coastguard rescue coordination centres is not over. We are urgently seeking volunteers who would be interested in becoming a local liaison officer or supporters to campaign as an extension of the National Coastguard SOS Campaign in local areas. If you are interested in learning more please email your contact details and information to info@coastguardsos.com

The truth about under staffing at stations.

The Government and the Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA) have been forced under FOI (Freedom of Information) requests to reveal the number of HM Coastguard staff on shift at Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centres (MRCC’s) around the UK.

The truth is that the figures are truly alarming.

Find the truth here;

News – Coastguard SOS.

Social Investigations: NHS privatisation: Compilation of financial and vested interests.

Social Investigations: NHS privatisation: Compilation of financial and vested interests..

 

This list represents the dire state of our democracy. The financial and vested interests of our MPs and Lords in private healthcare.

Over 200 parliamentarians have recent past or present financial links to companies involved in healthcare and all were allowed to vote on the Health and Social Care bill, turning it into an Act.

Who cares that they have put it in the register of interests. This doesn’t excuse their interests, it merely highlights clearly why they should have no part in voting for what is fast becoming the dismantling of the NHS. It is privatisation, despite the media’s continued use of the word ‘reforms’. The question must be asked. Are they public servants or corporate servants?

 

If you care about the NHS et al, please read the full blog at the above link

I’m So Furious I Can’t Even Think of a Title

I wasn’t going to write a blog today.

Got too much plumbing and gardening that need seeing to.

Then I was going to have a rest.

Then I saw this headline in the on-line Daily Mirror (at least it wasn’t the #Fail)

Iain Duncan Bloody Smith has excelled himself AGAIN.

‘He’ paid his staff bonuses totalling more than £44million last year while slashing benefits for countless needy and vulnerable people.

The top Tory’s department is in chaos with delays to flagship benefit reforms, a huge benefit tests backlog, botched work capability assessments and an IT crisis.

But senior civil service fatcats based in Whitehall were still paid bonuses of up to £17,500, based on performance the previous year.

In all, just 62 of them shared £671,000 on top of hefty salaries that often run to six figures.

And more junior Department for Work and Pensions staff were paid bonuses of up to £2,710 to top up their wages.

The average payment to rank-and-file employees was £515.

In all, 97,701 of the department’s 99,739 staff – a staggering 98% – shared more than £43.8million.

Quite apart from the fact that this is morally bankrupt, what on earth is the Bonus System doing in the Public Sector anyway?  This means that we, Mr and Mrs Taxpayer, have paid these bonuses.
Did you want to pay DWP bullies a bonus?  I didn’t.  When I worked in the Public Sector I didn’t get paid a bonus, nor did I even expect one or think that I SHOULD be paid one.
Where does this bonus money originate from? Savings from the ATOS Experience?  What, exactly does one have to achieve in DWP to qualify for a bonus?
I feel an #FOI coming on.
Have a good weekend
Rant over.

#FireFire

The Fire and Rescue Service, just one of our valuable public services being shafted by a short-sighted coalition

Thoughts of a Wolf in Sheep's Clothing

 FireFire

I have taken the liberty of reproducing the consultation document that @SaveSouthwark have shared via their website  savesouthwarkfirestation.org

I firmly believe that everyone should read it and keep up the pressure to prevent cuts to Fire Services.

I know it is a long document but PLEASE read it through to the end.  Sobering reading.    Jules aka @julieanneda

Introduction: 

‘We are taking a risk based approach to providing fire cover in London.’

James Cleverly, chairman of the LFEPA – 12th May Public consultation – GLA headquarters.  

The aim of this document is to demonstrate that the proposed closures of Southwark & New Cross Fire Stations coupled with the removal of the second pump at Peckham Fire Station is based on a model that does not reflect the risks in the surrounding built environment.

The model does not take into consideration the exceptional nature of the risks associated with…

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