Stephen Kelly, the government’s chief operating officer has complained about decrepit technology in government, saying that he waits seven minutes each morning for his PC to turn on.
“I came into the office here and I pressed my PC and it took me seven minutes to boot up,” said Kelly. “That's government in the old world, that's three days of the year I waste of my time booting up.”
The complaints coincided with the announcement of cuts amounting to £10 billion in Whitehall to be achieved in 2012/13. Kelly, the former chief executive of software firm MicroFocus, also revealed how companies had been billing the government for services that weren’t up to standard.
“That’s what government has been used to. We haven’t been demanding enough, we haven’t had the confidence to say, ‘That’s not good enough’. We are paying top dollar, with the best credit in the UK by far, and we should be getting the best service.”
One example was given by Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude was the inflated price being paid for a PC power cable. The cable costs £8 wholesale and is sold on Amazon for £20, but the Cabinet Office was charged £57 for the same item by its supplier.
Maude had previously highlighted in November 2012 how changing a single word on a government website could cost the taxpayer as much as £15,000. Maude blamed “legacy contracts” for the pricing, with government departments “locked in” to agreements “negotiated at a time when the digital capacity lay almost entirely outside government.”