Wednesday 28 January 2009

Public Sector:”Due Diligence..? What’s That?”

Officials who awarded the £156m contract to handle last summer's shambolic Sats tests should have just Googled the company at the centre of the row beforehand, MPs heard yesterday.
Nah, that sounds far too sensible for a governmental contract-giving committee…
Lord Sutherland, who led an independent inquiry into delayed test results for tens of thousands of pupils in England, told the Commons schools select committee that he did not know of "any major company that wouldn't have done that kind of probing if they were bringing on board a relatively or completely new player into the game".
Yes, but as has been pointed out time and again, there people are spending their own money. So f course they take more care…
Sutherland's report, published in December, found the exams watchdog, the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA), and the National Assessment Agency (NAA), which awarded the ETS contract, responsible for "massive failures", in particular not checking ETS's record and reputation.
And in any private company, such ‘massive failures’ would bring demotions and/or sackings.

In the civil service and various quangos? Not so much:
Sutherland agreed that such online probing could produce gossip, "but if they have publicly failed to deliver on contracts in previous years, I'm not talking about 1920 here but earlier within the current period of five, six, seven years, if it failed to deliver then, then you ask what have they done to improve their delivery and performance?"
And the answer seems to be ‘Nothing’…

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