December 16, 2008

Gov’t ‘efficiency’ computer wasted $124M

A British government efficiency computer designed to save taxpayers $87 million ended up costing them $124 million instead, investigators say.

An investigation by members of the House of Commons public accounts committee found that a Department for Transport effort to gain efficiencies by installing a new computer system was so bungled that it ended up actually costing much more than the hoped for savings, the British tabloid The Daily Mail reported Tuesday.

Installed at a Swansea, England, office that manages human resources, payroll, and finance support for the department, workers were left struggling with a system that issued messages in German and wrongly recorded that staffers were taking sick days, members of parliament said.

Members of the committee said the Swansea computer project was among the worst it had ever examined, and laid the blame with senior officials in the department who allegedly issued no reprimands or penalties in the fiasco, the newspaper said.