The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has been slammed after hundreds of employees it transferred into a private-sector contractor were made redundant.
The Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union hit out at the bungled Defence Information Infrastructure programme after its failings were exposed.
A report by the National Audit Office found that the project – designed to reform the MoD’s IT systems from offices to battlefields – was late, over budget and riddled with problems.
The MoD signed a 10-year contract in 2005 with the Atlas consortium, transferring more than 1,000 civil servants to the private sector firm.
But costs have spiralled from £5bn to £7.1bn, the first phase is 18 months late, much of the software does not work, and Atlas plans to make hundreds of workers redundant.
PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: “This is an all too familiar tale of public sector IT privatisation going wrong, and could have a serious negative impact for the MoD’s operations both here and overseas.
“It is appalling that the MoD transferred its staff into a redundancy situation, and we will be demanding that the department applies the recently agreed Cabinet Office guidance on considering in-house bids and staff protection.”
Tim Burr, head of the National Audit Office, said: “It was always going to be a demanding task for the MoD to replace its diverse information technology with a single, high-quality system.
“The programme has run into difficulties, and further concerted action will be needed to increase the rate of roll out of terminals and to deliver the remaining software.”