IT suppliers are still hitting the government with hugely inflated bills, with one charging the Cabinet Office £57 for a cable worth £8 wholesale.
That is according to Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude who – together with the government's new chief operating officer, Stephen Kelly – yesterday gave an update on the government's drive to increase efficiencies and cut costs in the civil service.
Maude (pictured) said the government had delivered savings of £10bn over the past financial year by slashing the number of civil servants and cutting down on waste. This is 25 per cent more than the £8bn target set after the general election.
However, Kelly – the former boss of UK software firm Micro Focus – said the programme to modernise Whitehall was "in the foothills".
He claimed Whitehall mandarins are wasting three days a year booting up their computers.
"I came into the office and I pressed my PC and it took me seven minutes to boot up," Kelly said, according to the Evening Standard.
"That's government in the old world, that's three days of the year I waste booting up. I think the average cost of a desktop [computer] a year is about £6,000. You could go and buy 10 iPads a year.
"That is what government has been used to. We haven't been demanding enough, we have not 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."
Maude gave the example of the Cabinet Office being charged £57 by a supplier for a PC power cable costing £8 wholesale and £20 on Amazon.
Maude has spearheaded several initiatives designed to cut waste in public sector IT since the coalition government came to power in 2010.
Last year, he turned the screw on big government suppliers, squeezing about £70m in annual savings from Microsoft and SAP alone.
The G-Cloud framework – which is designed to enable public sector buyers to quickly and easily procure cloud services off the peg, often from SMBs – was launched last spring with the aim of saving the public sector £340m by 2015.
Although business through G-Cloud is picking up, government assessors last week warned the project has "major risks" and requires "urgent action".
A new pan-government IT hardware procurement framework, ITHS, designed to save £6.5m in the government's last fiscal year alone was also launched last summer. However, suppliers have since expressed concerns over the low levels of business flowing through the framework.
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