Council wastes millions in IT double-spend

Derby City CouncilDerby City Council has been spending £ millions on replacement computer software despite having been told that it already has existing licenses in place. A Council Director has also admitted to circulating a false allegation (click here for more details) as part of a campaign to discredit David Gale, an independent company director who has been trying to bring to the public attention massive unnecessary costs incurred at tax-payers’ expense.

David Gale said, “A look at the Council Cabinet’s papers for the Transformation Programme demonstrates that the council is buying new software despite already having the capability with existing software licences.”

Click image for budgetary report

item-11-ict-transformation-programme-october-11-march-12-page-1“The two examples of Customer Relationship Management (CRM – items 4 & 17a on page 18 of the report) and Electronic Records and Document Management (EDRMS – items 6a & 14b on page 18 of the report) demonstrate spending of over £2.5 million on technology that the council already owns. The council already has a full site licence for Meridio, a Document Management System that was on its new shortlist. It also has licences for Microsoft Dynamics CRM, another system that made the new shortlist. Neither were chosen despite them offering equal or improved functionality over their replacements. The fact that they made the ‘new’ shortlist demonstrates that their replacement was completely unnecessary.”

“The council has had a Strategic IT Framework in place since 2005 but has sat on its hands and done nothing with it. In a full council meeting in March 2012, Conservative Leader of the Council, Philip Hickson, admitted that no savings had been made using the framework since 2007, despite it having been proven to provide faster and more cost-effective IT services. Cllr Hickson stated that the previous infrastructure was unsuited to the council’s needs despite him having been made aware that two of the original key components featured on the new shortlist, so his statement doesn’t stand up to scrutiny.”

“In effect, the council is admitting that it doesn’t have the skills to deliver a transformation programme using an IT framework that was recognised personally by Bill Gates as one of the world’s leading public sector IT facilities. Globally marketed case studies from both Microsoft and Meridio demonstrate the licensing to be in place and the extent of the previous deployment but instead, they’re starting from scratch despite having been warned that they already have licences in place to deliver exactly the same functionality as the new systems.”

In 2011, the BBC exposed the waste of £250,000 on an unnecessary website revamp. Gale claims that the list goes on and that the total cost to the taxpayer is now over £20 million: “Current estimates demonstrate £12 million in lost efficiency savings, over £5 million in unnecessary consultancy, and over £3 million in unnecessary IT equipment spend. A total of over £20 million of tax payers’ money frittered away since 2007.”

“This goes way beyond incompetence. The leaders of the Conservatives, Labour, and Liberal Democrats local parties have joined forces in an attempt to keep a lid on their mismanagement. A senior council director has had to apologise after I uncovered evidence of a smear campaign being run to discredit me in an attempt to close down discussion of the subject.”

A Derby Telegraph journalist contacted by Gale was summoned to the Council House for a private briefing on the council’s new IT strategy, delivered by a senior director in the presence of the Council’s Chief Legal Officer. Deputy Editor Neil White has since refused to comment on the newspaper’s failure to pursue the story despite being offered a full briefing for their lawyers in August 2011.

In calling for the involved councillors and officers to resign, Gale added, “I intend to engage with the Local Government Ombudsman but there needs to be a full-blown inquiry into this disgraceful waste of public money and a cover-up that has involved all of the old political parties’ leaders, as well as senior council officers. As things stand, nobody is being held to account.”

30th April 2012

See also: Council apologise after libelling election candidate

Categories: Government

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