Why UK government IT sucks so hard

Here's a very short and snappy explanation for why so much of the UK's government IT infrastructure is so fantastically, awfully bad: it's an RFP from a Northern Irish government business development fund for a "Content Management System to manage all Invest NI websites and intranets." Here's how they express their priorities:

IV.2.1)Award criteria
The most economically advantageous tender in terms of

1. Price. Weighting 95

2. Quality. Weighting 5

This is for a 523 000 GBP contract, by the way.

Invest NI wishes to appoint a suitably qualified service provider to install, configure, maintain and support a Content Management System to manage all Invest NI websites and intranets... (Thanks, Angie!)


  1. I work of UK Gov, and the IT does indeed suck, but that’s okay, because the tech support is even worse.

  2. I’m currently trying to obtain citizenship for my adopted son, who is still on a Chinese passport. The Border Agency website is pretty good and generally informative, but there are a number of important points that it doesn’t address. I called the number that was listed on the website, but it was completely unmanned and just directed me to the email address. After sending an email, I got an automated response giving me some FAQs and telling me to check the website for more information. At the bottom of the message there was another email address to write to if your issue wasn’t addressed, so I wrote to that. So far I’ve written four times in the past month, and haven’t had a response yet. I’ve also contacted the UK embassy a few times, they just tell me to contact the phone number.

    1.  My problems are only getting computers fixed, but it sounds like the system you’re trying to deal with was designed by the same crowd!

  3. This is pretty good price and quality control when you compare it to the proposed Snoopers’ Charter engine. That was supposed to be about 1.5 billion pounds, but has been estimated to actually be between 10 and 12 billion pounds depending on who you believe; and no agreed tests for what it should do or whether it can do it.

    These people have been sponsoring over-budget projects that don’t deliver since the Babbage Difference Engine. That was ten times over budget when they killed the project after 19 years without delivering anything. You cannot really flop any harder than that, but you can always flop bigger, I guess.

  4. #ITIL strikes again! Sisyphus as a #sysadmin. The most vocal supporters of IT governance can’t govern themselves; things we hate in others often is what we hate most in ourselves.

Comments are closed.