PCG, an organisation representing the self-employed and independent professionals has responded to claims that HMRC wasted taxpayer money on an IT project.
Last week, a National Audit Office (NAO) report claimed that that HMRC’s Aspire IT contract had enjoyed only “limited success” due to poor management.
The deal in question is the largest and longest-running government technology contract, costing £7.9bn between July 2004 and March 2014, leading to concerns that taxpayer money has been poorly spent as the agreement has not achieved its aims entirely.
“The government has consistently let the taxpayer down by failing to manage large projects and this case from HMRC is a prime example,” claimed Andy Chamberlain, senior public affairs manager at PCG.
“Too much faith is put into large prime contracts to oversee projects when the government itself should taking closer control,” he added.
Chamberlain’s comments echo many industry observers thoughts – although Whitehall itself has committed to doing 25 per cent of all business via SMEs by 2015, many claim that larger suppliers are still being favoured and more needs to be done.
“Large IT projects such as this should be broken up and awarded to smaller businesses and collaborative groups of self-employed specialists.
“Many of the UK’s most talented IT technicians are self-employed, yet they are prevents from bidding for these contracts because they are simply too big.
“Smaller entities and collaborations would be more efficient and more accountable. The government must review its procurement policy before more money is wasted and vital public services are put at risk,” claimed Chamberlain.