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UK Government Spent GBP9.8m on 70 External BDUK Broadband Consultants

Tuesday, Nov 13th, 2012 (8:02 am) - Score 472

The government’s Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) office, which is responsible for overseeing the national and publicly funded roll-out of superfast broadband services, has revealed that a whopping £9.8m of its £680m budget until 2015 has been spent on 70 external consultants (between May 2010 and September 2012).

The latest revelation follows shortly after it was revealed that 66 staff are working full-time on projects for BDUK (between July and September 2012) and that the department suffered a dire staff turnover rate of 110% for three quarters (the rate at which an employer gains and loses employees). On top of that BDUK’s “flexible resourcing system” meant that it couldn’t even say what jobs they were all doing, which likely contributed to its high turnover rate.

Earlier this year it was similarly revealed that the “cumulative value” of BDUK’s contract for legal services (lawyers) was expected to “exceed £1 million by the end of the programmes in 2015“, which is arguably the least shocking figure, given the high price of legal fees and the huge national scope of the project.

The governments Communications Minister (Department of Culture, Media and Sport), Ed Vaizey, told PC Advisor that “external advisers are employed on a range of terms, including full or part-time employment over a variable number of days per year“. Vaizey added that the administration budget for 2010-11 was £1m and in 2011-12 it was £5.85m (between April and September 2012 it spent £4.15m of that budget).

The BDUK office aims for 90% of UK people to be within reach of a 25Mbps+ (Megabits) capable superfast broadband ISP connection by spring 2015. But critics often complain that its only real job seems to involve rubber stamping BT’s contracts for local authorities. Meanwhile we’re still waiting for some actual network building to begin.

In fairness any national strategy is always going to be surrounded by piles of highly technical paper work and financial challenges, which can be a deeply expensive process to manage. Never the less it’s important for BDUK to start showing that it’s not just a paper processor, which is best achieved by getting the practical roll-out underway. It looks like this might finally be about to happen.

By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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