Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Money For Nothing

Working in IT is not always a petabyte of laughs, although I do have some fond memories.  One is based on events approximately 4 years ago. During a particularly busy period , I was unable to shuffle out to Greggs for lunch and a colleague offered to get me my sausage roll and iced finger. Like many IT pros I am a music fan but don’t generally follow the stereotype. I asked my fellow geek if he would pick up my jazz mag from the newsagent on his way back to the office.

As we know IT geeks are famed for their practical jokes, but I could not contain my shock with what he returned with  for me –  a veggie pasty and custard slice!! How we laughed. .. but probably not as much as I will laugh to the response we will get to my latest FoI request.

Dear chums

I note with interest that Uncle Eric is not happy with those naughty recalcitrant councils who so far have not followed his unique localism agenda and published their service expenditure as he has rightly demanded. I hope that Uncle Eric will come down on those councils like a ton of bricks and crush them like creepy ants. Uncle Eric has stated that publishing service expenditure is an easy and low cost task – but is it?

Last week whilst lunching with my co-workers from the IT department, a little bird told me something of interest. Actually it wasn’t a little bird but a slightly dishevelled geek wearing a Metallica t-shirt with some social-skills development needs . As I know from my many years working in the IT department, and these pre-date your very short tenure, the IT department are often ignored, at best but usually simply derided.  I like to think of us as the bowels of the organisation. No one really wants to come near us, we deal with a lot of (ahem) important business but woe betide anyone who annoys us, because if we clam up we can cause you a whole lot of trouble.

Anyway, the whisper I heard is that for DCLG to make available its own service expenditure did not come cheap. The amendments to the finance ledger systems required external support from expensive contractors. So my request is:

Can you please provide the cost for work to make changes to the finance system to generate a reporting module that can produce monthly service spend over £500?

Whilst the contract for this may have been wrapped up in a wider set of requirements, an estimate based on number of contractor days and rounded to the nearest ten thousand pounds will suffice.

Yours hoping for a reboot

Derek 1.0

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