OPINION: Report slams ?unacceptable? waste in supposed age of austerity

Government pays ?3,664 per PC

A committee report has today slammed Government IT spending as wasteful and unacceptable, claiming amongst other things that £3,664 is being spent on desktop PCs.

It is of course possible to spend that sort of money on a PC, but the machine would have to be a white-hot gaming rig, complete with neon liquid cooling pipes snaking around the case, more graphics cards than sense, a bottomless pit of memory, and a secret intention to start a Skynet style machine revolution – the sort of thing pro-gamers lust after in their dreams

Now, unless the cabinet office has taken to spending its lunch hours fragging each other in inter-departmental LAN parties, or is just getting itself nice and ready for the release of Battlefield 3, it’s fair to say our enlightened leaders are probably paying a little over the odds.

According to the Public Administration Committee, who penned the massive report, leadingly called ‘A Recipe For Rip-Offs: Time For A New Approach’, the main problem comes from the public sector operating as a single purchasing entity, and thusly relying too much on huge IT contractors.

There have been allegations that a few massive firms have formed a cartel – or ‘oligopoly’ as they sometimes baffling put it – over the lucrative public sector, shutting out smaller competitors.

The report is quite scathing on the matter:

“Whether or not this constitutes a cartel in legal terms, it has led to the perverse situation in which the governments have wasted an obscene amount of public money. The Government should urgently commission an independent, external investigation to determine whether there is substance to these serious allegations of anti-competitive behaviour and collusion.”

Of the seemingly massive over-spend, the report read:

“At a time when the annual deficit is necessitating large reductions in public spending, such waste is unacceptable.”

It suggests that massive orders be broken down, and smaller IT dealers be used more often where possible, to promote competition.

Good news for the smaller IT resellers, then. Bad news for the bi-weekly Foreign Office versus Home Office Counter Strike tournament.

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