“£14 Billion ‘wasted’ by the government on ‘botched’ outsourcing”

“The government has wasted at least £14 billion between 2016 and 2019 on poorly managed outsourcing contracts finds a report from the Reform Think Tank.

The report is based on an analysis of investigations by the National Audit Office NAO), Parliamentary Select Committees and other statutory bodies. The total value of the contracts investigated was £71.1 billion.

The Ministry of Defence accounts for 27 per cent of this waste. This includes a 17 year delay in the full decommissioning of nuclear submarines and a poorly planned army recruitment programme. This saw soldiers forced into backoffice jobs to clear an IT backlog created by an untested IT system created in partnership between the army and Capita.

Other examples include the vastly expensive liquidation of Carrillion, which cost the government at least £148 million as well as involving the time and resources of 14 government departments and public bodies.

Also the Department for Education continued to give Learndirect £105 million after the programme was rated ‘inadequate’ by Ofsted. This should have led to the funding being withdrawn.

A third of the government’s annual budget is spent on outsourced services, at a total of ££292 Billion.

Reform is now calling for an independent regulator of the outsourcing sector which – unlike the NAO or Select Committees would have the power to enforce change and impose sanctions on failing providers.

Senior Researcher and Reform procurement lead, Dr Joshua Pritchard said “Our public services cannot function without outsourcing. But when it goes wrong, it’s taxpayers who end up footing the bill

“The £14.3 billion wasted as a result of poorly drawn up and managed government contracts is inexcusable.

“We need a new regulator with the power to prevent public money being squandered because of totally avoidable mistakes.”

£14 Billion ‘wasted’ by the government on ‘botched’ outsourcing

Government has to concede rail privatisation not working

“Northern rail could be renationalised, says transport secretary.

The Northern rail network could be renationalised after years of late and cancelled trains, according to the transport secretary, who said the current franchise cannot continue as it is.

Grant Shapps told the Commons transport select committee that first steps had been taken towards taking the Northern rail network back into public hands. He said he had asked the Northern franchisee, the German-owned Arriva, and the government’s operator of last resort to draw up proposals to improve the service.

Highlighting that barely one in two Northern trains ran on time, Shapps said: “I consider that it cannot continue delivering in the current delivery method.”

He added: “I entirely believe we cannot carry on thinking it is OK for trains not to arrive, or Sunday services not to be in place – that simply has to change.”

His remarks were welcomed by politicians who have criticised the service, whose vast network runs from Newcastle to Leeds, Liverpool, Hull, Manchester and Stoke. Greater Manchester’s mayor, Andy Burnham, said: “After months of misery it is a relief for us to hear government finally accept what we’ve been saying repeatedly, that things can’t carry on as they are.

“Northern passengers will agree with the transport secretary that the current situation of unreliable, overcrowded trains cannot continue. …

Labour said all rail franchises should come under the state’s wing, joining Network Rail. Andy McDonald, the shadow transport secretary, said: “Northern Rail’s incompetent operator should have been stripped of its contract years ago over its abysmal performance record. The government’s refusal to do so has meant massive inconvenience for rail passengers and damage to the region’s economy. …”

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2019/oct/16/northern-rail-should-be-renationalised-says-grant-shapps-transport-secretary?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other

How fat cats get fatter

“The regulator has allowed energy network companies to make bigger than expected profits at the expense of household bills, according to its own state of the market report.

Ofgem admitted the companies that run Britain’s energy pipes and wires had earned double-digit returns in the last year despite its efforts to keep a lid on energy bills.

The regulator oversees the business plans of regional gas and electricity networks to keep a rein on how much each firms can spend on their infrastructure, and how much they can claim back through energy bills.

It said that with hindsight it had set the rate of return too high, and that some companies had managed to spend less than planned, to rake in higher profits.

The uncomfortable evaluation has emerged following Ofgem’s decision to appoint its head of networks as its new chief executive. Jonathan Brearley will replace Dermot Nolan when he steps down in February next year.

It said: “The overall costs to consumers of the transmission and distribution networks have turned out to be higher than they needed to be.”

The admission is likely to anger critics of the companies, including UK Power Networks and National Grid, who have warned that networks are hiking up household energy bills while paying bumper shareholder payouts to foreign investors. …”

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2019/oct/03/energy-network-firms-allowed-to-make-bigger-than-expected-profits-ofgem-admits?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other

“Ministers ‘fail to take action on Carillion’ ” while taxpayers suffer

Ministers were accused of pretending that Carillion is “no longer their problem” almost 600 days after the collapse of the outsourcing business.

Unite, the trade union, claimed that Whitehall has adopted a “business as normal approach” after the government contractor’s failure, which led to thousands of job losses and delays to key public projects.

It complained that no action has been taken against the company’s former directors as several regulatory investigations continue.

Carillion was a construction and public services giant with an annual turnover of £3.5 billion. It went bust in January 2018, leaving £1 billion of debts and pension liabilities of £2.6 billion. About 3,000 staff lost their jobs and thousands more were transferred to new suppliers and contractors.

Two of its big contracts, the Royal Liverpool and Midland Metropolitan hospitals, remain “years away” from completion, Unite said.

The Official Receiver is trying to determine whether any criminal wrongdoing by those in charge of Carillion led to its collapse. The Financial Reporting Council is examining the accuracy of its auditing processes.

Gail Cartmail, Unite’s assistant general secretary, said it was “totally apparent” that ministers had “failed to learn any lessons from this debacle”.

“Hospital projects are years away from being completed. Meanwhile patients and staff have been left to struggle on in facilities that are no longer fit for purpose.” She added that ministers had “washed their hands of the whole mess”.

A Cabinet Office spokeswoman said:

“We continue to support and fund the NHS Trusts in Liverpool and Birmingham to bring forward their hospital projects as quickly as possible, while making every penny of taxpayers money count.”

NHS Doctor Paul Hobday reads the end of his novel “The Deceit Syndrome”

“This entertaining novel’s message about the deceitful clandestine plot to dismantle the National Health Service should be shouted from the rooftops.

It exposes the self-serving politicians, medics and compliant media behind an evil venture with hard unpalatable truths. The author draws upon his own career’s experience as a family doctor and his bold approach to writing intertwines real world politics with a compelling story line that is intriguing and scary, but often very funny and touching.

THE DECEIT SYNDROME joins forces with plays, songs and films such as The Great NHS Heist that have all been produced to convince the public of what is happening to healthcare without their knowledge or consent. Paul’s non-profit ethos, sending all royalties to support campaigns to save the NHS, should alone encourage everyone who cares about the best thing this country ever did to buy this powerful and persuasive novel. ~ Dr Bob Gill (GP and film maker)

“Highlights the horrors of NHS privatisation in an imaginative and eye-opening way” ~ Francesca Martinez (comedienne and NHS supporter)” “I cannot wait to promote this wonderful book on our Keep Our St Helier Hospital (KOSHH) campaign stand in southwest London” ~ Sandra Ash (NHS campaigner)”