Thursday 24 November 2011

Your Money And How They Spend It – interim report

Episode 1 of this Nick Robinson programme went out last night. Let's wait until we've seen episode 2 before making a final judgement.

In the interim, there are a few questions:
  • Who is "they"? After watching Mr Robinson's programme, you could be forgiven for thinking that it was an unnamed politician who spent our money on a new regional network of control centres for the fire brigade. It wasn't. It was Dame Mavis McDonald and Sir Peter Housden who had control of the cheque book. They were somehow omitted from the tale.
  • Who gets "your money"? There was no mention of PA Consulting, who picked up £42 million for project management and no mention of Cassidian, who built the useless control centres.
  • And we weren't told "how" they spend it. The indefatigable Tony Collins has another story today about how public money is actually spent, Officials pay supplier invoices – then raise purchase orders, based on another report from the equally indefatigable Amyas Morse at the National Audit Office: "the Equality and Human Rights Commission, in up to 35% of cases, raises its purchase order after it gets the invoice from suppliers".
Explaining why this is the wrong way round would presumably have detracted from the agreeably chummy atmosphere of Mr Robinson's interviews with Alan Johnson et al. But it might have been a more helpful use of a whole hour of airtime.

Tony Collins has remembered another example of the scandalous insouciance with which our money is spent: "On the C-Nomis IT project for prisons, the National Offender Management Service paid £161m without keeping any record of what the payments were for".

There's a lot for him to fit into episode 2. Will Mr Robinson do his job?


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David Moss said...

Bleaching? Dreadful man. Closed down half the rail network.

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