Some recent warmwell items noting the inadequacy of the government IT systems

Despite opposition from MPs . Defra issued a tender inviting companies to submit bids before 12 May to run its IT systems. The deal is worth up to £85m a year, and will run from next summer until at least 2011, and possibly 2021. David Taylor (Labour MP) says DEFRA had rushed to finalise its IT strategy in response to criticism

Oct 1/2 2002 ~ The Drummond Report. Wise before the event.

Dec 6 2002~ Systems should rely more on self-regulation and less on formal policing by enforcement agencies, says Lords' report

Feb 21 2003 ~ Ministers are considering a clampdown on cattle movements in a bid to halt the spread of the disease.

April 9 2003 ~ "We hope that the RPA will at all times keep its customers - farmers -uppermost in its thoughts." EFRA Committee

April 12/14 ~ Defra issues £1.4bn IT outsourcing tender - "the last desperate act of an IT-illiterate top management" says David Taylor, Labour MP

From HP Sauce: In the Tearoom  (Private Eye 2-15 May)
 
It's good to know someone in Parliament has spotted that outsourcing IT systems in the public sector frequently ends up being a costly mess.
 
Leicestershire MP David Taylor, a former IT manager, condemned the decision to invite the private sector to run IT services for the department for environment, food and rural affairs (Defra) as "as astonishing as it is unnecessary" and the "last desperate act of IT-illiterate top (civil servants) drowning in a whirlpool of technology".
 
Earlier this month Defra invited companies to tender for the £1.4 bn deal.  The contract, due to start next summer, would include looking after the livestock and land registers, including disease monitoring, which were so vital in attempting to bring the foot and mouth epidemic under control.
 
The environment, food and rural affairs select committee has previously strongly criticised the department's "woeful approach"
to IT, but rather than try to improve, it seems Defra thinks it can buy a solution.
 
Previous experience (such as the Inland Revenue's troubled contract with EDS and IT Net's disastrous management of housing benefit and council tax systems in Hackney) suggest it won't be easy.