Rural Payments Agency

BBC reports on the fiasco at the Rural Payments agency

The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee called the handling of the new Single Payments Scheme an “embarrassing failure”.

In a report, it complained Mrs Beckett and senior officials had not been held “personally accountable” for delays.

The committee said problems could cost the government up to £500m.

Last month, it was revealed that UK taxpayers could face a £300m European Commission fine for the delays.

Rumour has it that the problems centre on the mapping element of the system. A long time ago GDC naively bid for a small part of this project, fortunately we were not successful. At the time we were very disappointed as we felt we had a viable technology proposition, with hindsight we were most fortunate to miss out.

It seems that many of the great and good in our industry have been involved in this project – I wonder why it appears to have gone so disastrously wrong? Surely it can’t be because all of these companies are incompetent? Perhaps the scale and complexity of the project were just too much. I guess we will hear several different explanations coming out from the various parties and inevitably someone will be paid even more money to sort out the mess.

Is it only the UK IT industry working in “partnership” with Government that fails to deliver to expectation and budget or is it a worldwide phenomenon? Or is it simply that government cannot manage large IT contracts?

Loads of questions and not many answers tonight. One observation though – I know from my friends at eSpatial that the Irish and Greek equivalents have delivered successfully. I am sure most, if not all, other EU members have worked out how to deliver systems to meet the payments requirements of CAP.