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The chairman of Capita has resigned. News that he had lent the Labour party around £14 million had led some to speculate how his hapless, meat-fisted "outsourcing" company had consistently won government contracts, again and again and somehow fucking again. He has quit in response to the "spurious" claims that his loans were connected with Capita's inexplicable success. That is, after all, how you can tell if something is spurious—someone resigns over it.

But the important thing now is to put this behind us and move on. Right, Tony?


( 13 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 23rd, 2006 10:32 am (UTC)
Cue comments about "losing their head" and de-Capita-tion etc.
Mar. 23rd, 2006 10:33 am (UTC)
We're outsourcing some of our IT functions. Oh joy.
Mar. 23rd, 2006 10:56 am (UTC)
Thing is, didn't Capita win all these contracts before he gave the loan?

In fact, now I think of it, weren't Capita winning lots of Government contracts even before Labour came to power? Perhaps they know where the Queen's illegitimate sister is buried or something.
Mar. 23rd, 2006 11:04 am (UTC)
Thing is, didn't Capita win all these contracts before he gave the loan?</cite? Maybe. Either way, Capita stand to benefit from at least one of Labour's manifesto committments from the last election (ID cards). Even if that's a contract they don't subsequently win, it was clearly in their interests at the time of the election for the scheme to go ahead. In those circumstances it is entirely unacceptable for them/their chairman to be secretly funding - whether by loan or donation, whether legally or not - the party making those proposals. Can you really not see that?
Mar. 23rd, 2006 11:18 am (UTC)
By which I mean, the Government can't have awarded the contracts because he gave the loan, because he gave it afterwards. I see, of course, that he may have given the loan because he had a cosy relationship with the Government after winning lots of contracts.

Out of interest, does any other company actually do the same sort of work as Capita? I always got the impression that they kept getting huge public sector contracts because no one else wanted to do the work.
Mar. 23rd, 2006 11:19 am (UTC)
EDS, Logica ... There's loads of them. They're all crap.
Mar. 23rd, 2006 11:31 am (UTC)
Ah. That's reassuring.

Out of interest again, is there a specific reason why they're all so crap? Do they pay low wages? Do they tend to rush work to artificial deadlines without checking it works first? There seems to be a constant problem with public sector IT systems, and yet most IT people I know personally - like your good selves - seem to be immensely knowledgeable and competent.
Mar. 23rd, 2006 11:55 am (UTC)
There's a whole raft of reasons why they tend to go wrong, but the main problem is a lack of expertise at senior levels in the public sector. Typically they make up for this by going to the very companies who'll be bidding and hiring consultants from them to draw up the project specs. Amazingly, they fail to see the flaw in this approach.
Mar. 23rd, 2006 12:21 pm (UTC)
Anecdotally, I think it's more the culture they breed in these organisations; I have friends who have worked for outsourced companies which have been "steered" by Capita, eg BBC Information, which had pointless targets and meaningless management seminars every other week. Everyone I know there says they despised working for Capita as they were so inefficient and so brutal in some of their HR policies that it became much easier on the mind, in the end, for many of them not to work for them.

So well done BBC for now farming out their engineering operation at Wood Norton to these fuckers!
Mar. 23rd, 2006 01:41 pm (UTC)
If by "crap" we're referring to the eternal question "why do big IT projects fail?" then there are many reasons. The predominant ones are lack of clear goals, scope control and good project management.

As an example, I am working on a several IT projects at the moment, one of which is quite small. I have looked at the original request, asked everyone involved what they needed and have come up with a solution that works.

Now I have the user claiming that the original request was wrong, and that it should have included things that it didn't, and can it include them now. The short answer is no, but there's no point in delivering something that serves no purpose, so it'll end up going back to the drawing board and all the effort so far will be wasted. In my mind it is the users fault - I've delivered what they originally asked for. But in the users mind they may consider the fault to be mine, or to be IT generally.

IT projects can be very tricky - you have to be very careful what you ask for, otherwise it's like a genie and you get literally what you asked for.
Mar. 23rd, 2006 05:56 pm (UTC)
IT projects can be very tricky - you have to be very careful what you ask for, otherwise it's like a genie and you get literally what you asked for.

So the clever trick is to ask for an IT project that will generate another IT project!

I temped at Capita for a week and it was one of the most miserable temp jobs I had (and I had many, many miserable temp jobs). Nobody talked to me all week except for one man who said something about rugby. I was typing car registrations into a spreadsheet for some reason. I think it was Capita. Capita, Capitas, Capi*tum*.

Mar. 23rd, 2006 11:20 am (UTC)
Yes - EDS and accenture are the two who spring to mind. They're all as bad as each other by reputation.
Mar. 23rd, 2006 12:09 pm (UTC)
I used to work for Capita, in one of their call centres. They are probably the worst employer I have ever worked for in several years of doing rubbish jobs. The worst thing was that as soon as anything went horribly wrong we had to put people through to DWP/Income Support/whatever because we had no access to any departmental information.
( 13 comments — Leave a comment )

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