Questions the NAO might prefer to ignore
Conservative Technology Forum CEO Philip Virgo has posted a number of questions the National Audit Office may prefer to ignore in its investigation of whether the BDUK process will deliver value for the £1.8bn at risk.
I suspect that Virgo’s questions are slightly misdirected; the Public Accounts Committee is, I believe, the right forum to raise these issues.
Culture secretary Maria Miller is already apparently fighting for her political life, given the number of strenuously denied reports that DCMS is going be shut. She may be seeking an elegant way out of the swamp her civil servants have landed her in.
If so, she could ask the European Commission’s DG Competition to take an urgent look at the BDUK guidance to local authorities on how to deal with RCBF bids. She could confidently expect a verdict that finds the guidelines might lead to an uncompetitive market in the Final 10%.
That would give her an excuse to clean house, get BT to say what it will deliver openly and upfront in its taxpayer funded roll-out, provide a stick with which to beat BT if it doesn’t deliver on time and on budget, and garner some credibility to get fresh investors into the market, and pin the blame for any delays on Europe.
Best of all, it could save her and communications minister Ed Vaizey’s face, although Ed’s will have egg all over it.