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No more than expected


LSC introduces new IT system to file matter start funding claims. System promptly doesn’t work. Three months later, system still doesn’t work. Any idea when it will work? Errrr no. So we send in Excel forms instead.

LSC says “It’s not working as well as it could but it’s not meltdown or anything. We are now in the process of a recovery strategy”.

My giggles are not enough to stop me being pedantic. Can one actually be ‘in the process of a strategy’? Does this mean ‘in the process of coming up with a strategy’? Or  ‘in the process of implementing a strategy’? Or, more likely both at once, in the sense of ‘making it up as we go along’?

Giles Peaker is a solicitor and partner in the Housing and Public Law team at Anthony Gold Solicitors in South London. You can find him on Linkedin and on Twitter. Known as NL round these parts.


  1. Ekaterina

    Maybe it was time they hired a new IT team?

  2. housinganger

    It appears from my conversations with them (as a frustrated but unsuprised user) that they just didn’t test the programme properly before release. They were extremely cagey about what testing was done. As any one even remotely knowledgeable about these things knows there is a big difference between 5 people requesting data and 5000.

    The faults with their original system must have been impressive for it to have not worked at all since October and for there to be no date even vaguely mentioned for when it will be fixed.

    What amuses me most is they have asked us for the same data about 6 times now. The administrator is threatening to leave if they phone up much more!

    What annoys me more is that being ‘IT experts’ is they’re all probably paid at least twice as much as me!

  3. Charlie

    In answer to your questions, we are told that SMS will be back online around September. We have been promised details of the recovery plan several times, but as yet I think it is contained in someone’s imagination.

    I know the relentless phonecalls must be very annoying, but trust me, it is just your account managers doing everything in their power to make sure you get paid each month. The spreadsheets you send each month are somewhere in the LSC, but apparently they are not kept in a particular format/order, so it is impossible for your account manager to view the data.

    Ekaterina – I agree, but the procurement process would probably take 5 years so it hardly seems worth it. Try asking how much we paid for the current system. It was not what you’d call a bargain

    Housinganer – yes, the faults with the system must be impressive, but as they are a closely guarded secret I can’t enlighten you I’m afraid. I think if the IT experts were paid twice as much as you they might be doing an almost reasonable job, so I doubt that’s the case.

    Ooooh it’s so good to get that off my chest.

    On the plus side, it is not possible for us to choose files for audit until SMS is fixed so there should be a break in audit requests for a while.

    Hope that helps!

  4. Nearly Legal

    Hi Charlie – so I was right, making it up as they go along. Little things like not having any structure for holding the incoming spreadsheets are mind-boggling. (Extra efforts to ensure people are paid are appreciated, I’m sure, if not by those having to (re)send the sheets.

    I’d suspect that IT consultants probably do get twice an advice worker’s pay, if not more. But hey, it’s a government job, and nobody actually questions their competence or holds them to contracts (or writes the contracts properly in the first place), so what the hell.

    Charlie, as you know, you are welcome to vent anytime. Always interesting to hear, particularly when we are juggling cockup v conspiracy theories.

  5. William Flack

    I think that the extent of the closely guarded secret of the LSCs IT problems are even worse than expected. I asked the person who called me today about October’s matter starts why he could not email me this request as this would have been a much quicker way of dealing with the request than him telephoning me and then me phoning back etc. The answer was that he did not know my email address. I asked why this was when I have had to write it on so many of the documents which I have submitted to the LSC in recent times. He said that because when they “went over to the new system” they lost all the email addresses which were in the system before.

    It is good to hear from Charlie but distressing that like most people at the LSC who try to be helpful the information provided consists of the usual shoulder shrugging stuff about secret information and other (secret) people being responsible etc etc.

    Having said all that I can’t be too smug as my blog is down at the moment due to unknown problems.

  6. Nearly Legal

    To be fair to Charlie, s/he has anonymity and a job to protect. One can’t expect any giveaway detail or specific fingers pointed.


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