UK government wastes 'three days a year' booting up old world PCs

UK government wastes 'three days a year' booting up old world PCs

Summary: Perhaps parliament's way of thinking is as decrepit as its computers.

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TOPICS: Government UK
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uk-parliament computers legacy systems three days a year boot up

A U.K. senior government official has said that civil servants waste three days a year simply starting up their ageing computers.

The government's incoming COO Stephen Kelly has warned that the U.K. government is stuck in prehistoric times when it comes to technology, and "old world" standards are resulting in a waste of time and money for Whitehall.

London's Evening Standard reports that Kelly believes plans to drag Whitehall into the 21st century is "in the foothills," and although budgetary cuts have been made, perhaps they are taking place in the wrong areas.

"I came into the office and I pressed my PC and it took me seven minutes to boot up," Kelly commented.

"That's government in the old world, that's three days of the year I waste of my time booting up. I think the average cost of a desktop a year is about £6,000. You could go and buy 10 iPads a year. We haven't had the confidence to say, 'That's not good enough.' We are paying top dollar, with the best credit in the U.K. by far, and we should be getting the best service."

Many contractors seem to be taking the government for a ride — and nothing is being done about it. Officials pay £57 for a simple PC power cable, whereas the same make can be bought on Amazon for £20 and wholesale for £8.

Whether ignorance or laziness, this type of government spending and the maintenance of such legacy IT contracts when officials are harping on about austerity measures simply isn't acceptable.

It sprung to mind one conversation I had with a government official last year. The official said that the Internet contractor system was so convoluted that firms were often paid up to £15,000 to make minor text changes to local council websites — something which, as a former designer, I know would take mere minutes.

If the U.K. government believes wasting taxpayer money in such a way is an acceptable practice, it's a surprise they are reluctant to fork out for modern PCs or perhaps a few tablets.

Topic: Government UK

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9 comments
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  • Not sure it's about politics just

    It's bad (or that should be better) technology. I've saying that the lack of competition for windows was a severe hindrance to desktop evolution.
    My PC with 3 years takes like 5 minutes booting up when it used to be 2 - what's wrong with it? Did the processor got slower? Is it reasonable to re-install the OS every single year? Is it reasonable that I get a new PC every 3 years? or that everyone gets an i7 expensive machine?
    AleMartin
  • WHAT

    hangon hangon hangon....£8 for a pc power cable?! Hahaha. If you're letting someone get away with charging you that much for a simple power lead, you deserve to lose your money.
    truedoom@...
    • any IT dept has 1000's of extra power cables

      every pc and server comes with the damn things

      government slobs should just be using thin clients anyway, no reason they need a real PC.
      everss02
  • Old Joke

    Did you hear why no British companies make PCs? Couldn't figure out how to make them leak oil.
    beau parisi
  • Yes Yes...

    Why waste 3 days a year turning on an old timey computer when you can waste weeks trying to input data in to an iPad.
    CPPCrispy
  • 3 days, huh?

    Would that be three days per year for the entire British civil service, or three days per year per employee?
    John L. Ries
  • Hmmmm

    Wonder how the guy figured out three days worth.
    The power cable thing is laughable. If i would of known that they needed power cables I would of sold it to them at £10 each. This place I worked for a few years ago had two bins [each big enough to put a mid-tower desktop inside] full of new and barely used power cables. I At one point with all the wasted spaced, I tossed out all the "used" cables [excluding the super-long ones - always useful]. At £10 each, I could of made over £1500 easily. :-)
    Gisabun
    • Yup, 3 days if he boots it twice a day (in the morning, and after lunch)

      2 boots a day * 7 minutes a boot x 5 days a week x 52 weeks a year = 3,640 minutes = 60.7 hours = 2.53 days

      There are a few things you can to do speed up the boot / logon time, but at some point you reach the point where the only options left are either replace the HDD with a much faster one, or replace the PC.
      brian@...
  • Change the OS

    For the type of work: if it's just net or word processing: change the OS for a free one that boots in seconds or as someone earlier said: they should be using thin clients.
    Frank Reid