The Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) modernisation programme is another example of a Home Office project marred by poor planning and contracting, delays, spiralling costs, and a failure to understand what service users want. The modernisation programme is over four years late and costs are expected to be £229 million more than initially planned, while the new update service has seen a fraction of the demand expected by the Home Office in 2012. DBS re-evaluated the programme in 2014 but has not done enough to turn the programme around.
DBS is now negotiating with its contractor, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), to deliver the programme, including agreeing a date for when modernisation will be complete. There is a strong risk that they may run out of time before the contract ends in March 2019. In addition, the update service has not delivered the promise of a cheaper, better safeguarding service for customers. Instead of providing savings, DBS is charging customers £13 a year for the update service instead of the £10 expected in 2012, and is holding onto cash generated from the rest of the services it provides, building up a surplus at the expense of its customers. The Department needs to keep a close watch over negotiations and ensure that taxpayers, who have already seen too much money wasted on the programme, do not continue to see money going down the drain.
Published: 25 May 2018