Saturday, March 08, 2008

News From BOM Correspondents- 1

Google's free alternative to the NHS Supercomputer (via James Barlow)

We've decided to start a regular post on all the news, analysis, and links we receive from BOM's eagle-eyed correspondents. Please send your tales of government waste and incompetence to and we'll post and link them here.

Free alternative to NHS Supercomputer

James Barlow has a fascinating post here on free market - and FREE - alternatives to the NPfIT spine- the NHS's grandiose dysfunctional multi-billion patient record keeping system. Both Google and Microsoft are busy developing their own personal health record systems that patients control. Apart from saving £20bn, who would you rather trust with your personal data?
Them and Us Olympics
As a mere taxpaying spectator you won't be permitted to travel by car to the 2012 Olympics. Neither will the competitors. But thousands of free-loading Olympic bureaucrats and other "VIP" hangers-on will be:
" The International Olympic Committee [has] demanded more than 3,000 chauffeur-driven cars for dignitaries, officials and corporate sponsors. These cars will have access to a network of dedicated lanes, which will be closed to other traffic for up to two months. Up to 3,000 sets of traffic lights will also be adjusted to ensure that the IOC’s fleet has fast access to all venues.
Those whom the IOC insists need cars, in addition to receiving free access to public transport, include the 110 IOC members, 400 presidents and secretary-generals from the Olympic committees of the 200 competing nations and 450 senior executives from corporate sponsors. None of the 10,500 athletes will have access to the 3,145 cars and will instead travel on a dedicated fleet of coaches."
Just like the worst African dictatorship. Or the European Commission, say.
(HTP Spokey)

Bonuses for failure

Despite the dire and wholly unacceptable performance of HMRC last year, senior staff received bonus increases of up to 60%.

Compare and contrast with the fate of Tony Hayward, who was appointed BP's CEO last May. According to Reuters "BP's chief executive missed out on a possible 2.5 million pound bonus last year, as part of a long-term incentive scheme paid in shares, because of the oil major's industry-lagging performance." Yes, we know Tony is hardly left on his beam ends, but the point is BP's underperformance has had direct consequences in his wallet.

(HTP The Village Postmaster, and see previous BOM blog here)

Whitehall's Worst Department?
BOM has nominated Defra for this accolade before, but now it's managed to overspend its own budget allocation by £230m. According to the NAO, Defra "was the only department to overspend against its capital departmental limit in 2006-07" and there is "insufficient evidence of a methodical and structured approach to scrutinising plans and budgets".
Defra mandarins deliberately - deliberately, mark you - planned to spend more than their budget allocation. Given their previous incompetence, they reckoned they wouldn't actually manage to spend it all. But surprise, surprise, they did. Which then meant they had to implement emergency spending cuts, and were therefore unable to deliver what they'd been paid to deliver.
So has anyone been fired?
Yeah, right.
(HTP Dave B)

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