According to Computer Weekly, hundreds of IT projects have been put on hold at the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and 300 contractors been told to clean out their desks.
Up to 500 projects are under review, on hold or set to be scrapped.
Word on the street is that an audit of DWP’s accounts at the halfway point in the financial year revealed a significant overspend in DWP Digital, the department’s IT team. Numbers like £250 million have been bandied about but a DWP spokesperson has denied it:
“We routinely review our work to ensure that we focus our resources on the most viable options and deliver the best value for the taxpayer. This year we are on track to deliver record digital transformation on a scale larger than most FTSE 100 companies.”
Projects affected include a move to migrate applications away from existing HPE datacentres to the Crown Hosting Service set up by the Cabinet Office, and getting rid of ancient Fujitsu VME mainframes. Several IT suppliers to DWP have been hit. Several thousand Microsoft Surface Pro laptops are “sitting in cupboards” waiting to be deployed as part of a major desktop overhaul.
There appear to be no lay-offs among permanent DWP staff who appear to be being used to take up the slack.