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Top UK Government Project Failures

June 16, 2017 | By | No Comments

So, I’ve been away on annual leave most of this week and my first day back I got hounded to start preparing the blog. I may have mentioned it before but the office gets a little heated when it comes to choosing a topic. A few of us are standing up and shouting about moving into Vlogging but I’m not sure about that. What do you guys think? Would you be interested in seeing an EGB Vlog? After a tense office-wide discussion, we settled on something relevant and decided to look at Government projects and just how badly some of them failed. We got really lucky and found that the Software Advisory Service had already done the leg work and listed the most catastrophic Government Projects and just how badly they went over budget. As an added extra, they’ve included the end cost to you the taxpayer.

7. Department for Transport Shared Services Centre

This project was created to combine the DfT’s human resource and financial services together in a single site based in Swansea. The idea that the cut in administration costs and in the end overall save the taxpayer £57 million. Initially costed at £53 Million, the project overspent by £28 Million coming to a total cost of £81 Million. The Public Accounts Committee’s comments on the reason for such an overspend was due to “stupendous incompetence”.

6. Common Agricultural Policy Delivery Programme

This particular programme was an IT scheme that was to help allocate subsidies to the farming industry. It’s original planned cost was to be £155 Million but due to issues between the three main key bodies, ended up with a £60 Million overspend coming to a total of £216 Million. The cause for the issues, as according to the Public Accounts Committee, lack of consistent priorities between the main bodies. On top of the overspend, the programme ended up delaying payments to farmers as well as incurring penalties from the European Commission.

5. Libra System for Magistrates

The Libra system is a case management system that was created for the Magistrates Court, the project was originally tendered for by Fujitsu for £146 Million. This was the start of an ever-inflating price for the project as before the deal had been signed Fujitsu upped the cost to £184 Million as Fujitsu’s board said it couldn’t support the charging basis of the original bid. 10 months into the project, Fujitsu asked for a higher amount again as they were running a £39 Million deficit on the project. At this point, there were warnings about the financial model used by Fujitsu but the project was too important to let go. This led to a further two quote increased culminating at £389 Million, this was rejected and another company was contracted to fulfil the task.

4. Edinburgh Trams

The Edinburgh Tram project was a seven-year long project to bring a tram route to the city of Edinburgh. The project was projected to cost £375 Million. By the time pen was put to paper the cost had risen to £489 Million and at completion the project has cost £776 Million, this is not including £200 Million in interest costs on a 30-year loan. The project was plagued with issues including contractual disputes, safety concerns and complaints from the local populace.

3. Scottish Parliament Building

Love or hate the design, the Scottish Parliament Building had exponential overspend compared to the original cost of the project. Originally the Scottish Parliament Building was projected to cost only £10 Million but at the end of the project it came to a staggering £414 Million. This was attributed to poor management of the project, especially in fulfilment of costs and the way major design changes were implemented. You think that would be the end of it but figures have revealed that the average repair bill comes to £141,000 per month.

2. NHS National Program for IT

The NHS were looking to create a patient record system to handle the vast swathe of information they have to deal with. This system would have been the largest non-military system IT system to have been created. This system was eventually canned as it was plagued with many issues, the project ended up costing £10 Billion which was £3.6 Billion more than the proposed cost. Out of 169 trusts that the system was to be implemented to, only 13 received a full patient administration system. Though this caused more issues for the NHS as it caused issues for these trusts, prompting The Milton Keynes Foundation to warn others not to use it.

1. Defence Information Infrastructure

The MoD’s Defence Information Infrastructure (DII) is a secure military network user by all branches of the military as well as MoD civil servants. When the project was initially proposed (2005) to Parliament the cost for this project was £2.3 Billion, though a report has shown that even at this juncture they knew the cost would be more than double at £5.8 Billion. By 2008 the programme was 18 months late and had delivered less than half of the project and none of the Secret capability of the system. Part of the blame for the issues came down to a lack of a suitable pilot for the programme.

A lot of money having to be funnelled into projects that have growing issues, or in the NHS’s case thrown down the drain. Many of these programmes could have been partially saved by better management and communications between contractors and departments. This is why we look for top calibre candidates to make sure the government keeps on track. If you think you are up to the challenge of keeping the government in check, send us your CV and we will add you to our database.

Cheers,

Dan

Source: http://www.softwareadvisoryservice.com/blog/biggest-uk-government-project-failures/

Defence Contracts and the Queen Elizabeth Class Carrier

June 9, 2017 | By | No Comments

Welcome to the latest edition of the EGB Blog, I hope that everyone is doing well and can finally be calm as the election has officially ended (sort of). With any luck, the rain staved off enough that you didn’t get soaked trying to vote, it was pouring down most of the day in South Wales yesterday. To move onto the topic of this week’s blog, we are taking a look at some recent Defence News, mainly because we have recruited for a few roles that were linked to the Queen Elizabeth Class (QEC) Carrier project.

After a long time under construction the HMS Queen Elizabeth has finally been finished and fully fitted and ready to head out for trials this summer. In the source below there is a pretty interesting video which shows a time-lapse of the build. Hopefully they will not have any issue in getting it under the Forth Bridge or there may be another delay to the start of the trials. We have seen quite a few roles come and go for the QEC project so it was good to see that the work of candidates was finally coming to some fruition.

In a similar set of news combined with recent roles we have recruited for; the RN are looking to purchase further F-35b fighter jets for use with the QEC carriers HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales. The B variant of the F-35 is the Short Take-Off and Vertical Landing (STOVL) version which was designed for use with Aircraft Carriers due to the obvious limited space for take-off and landing. It was a short time ago that we were recruiting for a Project Manager that was to manage the integration of F-35 onto the F-35. As they are looking to purchase further F-35b fighter jets, we should hopefully see more roles open up for this project in the future.

This blog was just a little look into the varied and interesting roles that we recruit for at EGB Consulting. These sorts of roles are some of the reasons why people prefer to be a contractor (at least according to the poll we looked at a couple of weeks ago). Have you worked on any interesting/different projects whilst contracting, if you have let us know in the comments below.

Warm Regards,

Dan

Sources:
https://sputniknews.com/military/201705301054117153-uk-aircraft-carrier-bridge/
https://www.theregister.co.uk/2017/05/19/uk_buys_17_more_f35b_lrip_12_14/

Public Sector Employment Statistics

June 2, 2017 | By | No Comments

June is already upon us, time is sure flying this year and we can only be happy with how it has played out so far. The roles are flying in and we are securing more and more interviews and job offers for our candidates, even the weather is getting better, though I hope it stays that way and we have a nice long summer. That way we can get a few BBQs in, a few of the team have already had some. Moving onto the topic for this week, we are looking into data that the Office of National Statistics (ONS) released not long ago with regards to public sector employment.

ONS’ latest Workforce statistics release gave us insight into where the public sector is employing its staff for both full time and contract workers. The public sector employs 5.44 million people in total, this is compared to the 26.42 million employees of the private sector. Within the Public Sector these jobs are mostly split into two categories, those considered to be Local Government which stands at 2.18 million employed and Central Government which currently employs 2.95 million.

The sole largest employer in the Public Sector is (perhaps unsurprisingly) the NHS which alone employs a staggering 1.59 million. Combine that with the recent news of the NHS removing their blanket IR35 status is good news for contractors. Other Public Sector bodies such as the Police only employ 245,000 and the Civil Service employs 416,000 people.

It is also interesting to note that there is quite a shift in public sector employment depending on region. Northern Ireland has the highest percentage of employment being within the public sector, with nearly a quarter (24.8%) being employed by the public sector. Scotland are next with 21% and Wales then with 20.8% respectively. London has the lowest rate with 14.5%, though that may come down to the higher population count compared to other areas. The north east takes the highest employment percentage in England with 20.2%.

That was just a little look into some statistics in Public sector recruitment, nothing too heavy for this lovely weather we are having. Does anything surprise you of the details that we presented, maybe the low public sector workforce in London or on the other side the high Northern Ireland employment? Either way we would love to hear your thoughts.

Warm Regards,

Dan

 

Sources: https://www.theguardian.com/wellbeing-at-work/2017/apr/26/who-works-where-uk-public-sector

https://www.ons.gov.uk/employmentandlabourmarket/peopleinwork/employmentandemployeetypes/bulletins/uklabourmarket/may2017#public-and-private-sector-employment

Top Reasons Why Professionals Choose Contract Work

May 26, 2017 | By | No Comments

We offer a warm welcome back to the EGB blog this week as we close in to another bank holiday weekend. I am not sure if it is a blessing or a curse to have so many bank holidays close to one another. This week’s blog is going to take a look at some of the reasons why professionals have chosen to go into temporary or contract work. Recently the Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC) published a report on research they had been carrying out. They were looking into the main reasons why those in temp or contract work had chosen that particular path. In doing so they came up with a list of top ten reasons, you can find the list below:

  1. 34% are looking for a permanent job role
  2. 14% can only work on a short term basis due to a domestic or personal commitment
  3. 13% find temporary work to be more interesting than a permanent role
  4. 9% are doing contract or temporary work until they move house or go abroad
  5. 9% are filling in between other jobs such as acting and similar
  6. 8% work on contracts and in temporary roles to gain more experience and develop their career and CV
  7. 6% are on a working holiday
  8. 3% use temporary work and contracts to fill the time before they start a new permanent job
  9. 2% find that temporary or contract work pays better
  10. 2% have ‘another reason’ for choosing temporary or contract work

A quick look at the list shows that flexibility of contract roles play a big part, as it helps fit into commitments outside of working more easily. With only 2% of respondents reporting money being the driving force, it suggests that money isn’t the driving factor as is commonly thought.

Have these findings shed a new light on contractors for you or does it reinforce the ideas that you already had? Personally, I think it is surprising to see that money is not higher as it certainly does pay a lot better than permanent work. We would love to hear your reason, so please let us know in the comments below!

Warm Regards,

Dan

Sources: https://www.cambridgenetwork.co.uk/news/reasons-talented-professionals-choose-temporary-or-contract-3233/

The Cyber Security Sector

May 19, 2017 | By | No Comments

There is no surprise that this week’s blog is going to focus on Cyber Security with the big news of the NHS cyber-attack. The world is becoming more reliant on technology and we can see that when issues or an attack occurs. When these systems are hit, they usually grind to a halt and have massive knock on effects. We easily saw this with the NHS attack which saw procedures and appointments cancelled and rearranged, A&E shut for certain hospitals, and redirections for ambulances to different hospitals.

With this sort of attack, it is expected to see a rise in Cyber Security roles released as organisations will look to shore up their cyber defences to fight against such attacks. If this is a sector that you work in, you may see an influx of roles for this industry pop up. If they do we will make sure to put them out on our website & social media, and email anyone who has signed up. It is always useful to enhance your CV and experience by gaining qualifications in the area which makes you more valuable compared to those without.

The threat of these attacks is not solely focussed on organisations and due to the natural spread of these sorts of viruses can easily affect domestic PCs. So we have got together a few basic tips to help you protect yourself from these sort of attacks, these may seem basic but can never be said enough:

  1. Make sure your PC is up to date and have automatic updates enabled – This is to ensure the latest security updates are installed for your Operating System.
  2. Make sure that you have an anti-virus and firewall installed and up to date – These do not have to be paid for, though paid for services usually offer higher levels of protection.
  3. Take care opening attachments or clicking links in emails – Generally you should only do either when you know that the link or attachment is safe.
  4. Take regular Backups – This is recommended so if anything happens to your data, you have a copy of it preferably on an external drive or the cloud.

We hope that there are no further attacks in the future and if they are, that they will be quickly dealt with by the technology sector. The tips we have given should help you keep safe or at least mitigate the loss if unfortunately, you do get hit by a virus. Though for the silver lining we hope that those looking for work in Cyber Security will be in demand shortly. Let us know your views in the comments below and tell us if there is anything you would like us to cover in future.

Warm Regards,

Dan

Mental Health in the Workplace

May 12, 2017 | By | No Comments

That Friday feeling is kicking in and to accompany it we have got another blog, which perhaps you can unwind to as the weekend closes in. With this week being Mental Health Awareness week, we decided to do our part in helping raise awareness by making it the topic of our weekly blog. As seen in the news recently with Professional Footballer Aaron Lennon, there is no job that is safe from the issues of mental health. Fortunately, Lennon is now receiving the treatment he needs and the swell of support from the football community has been outstanding.

There recently has been a push for making the work environment less intimidating for those that are currently suffering Mental Health Issues. A recent survey carried out by ComRes, on behalf of Radio 5 Live, found that roughly half of those interviewed would be unlikely to talk to their Employer (49%) or Colleagues (55%) about Mental Health issues. On the other hand, more of those that were surveyed found that their work place was supportive of people with Mental Health issues (43% vs 27%). Though nearly half (49%) felt that their employers did not have sufficient training to properly support employees that have Mental Health issues.

The above is quite an alarming statistic on its own but it is compounded by the statistic that; 1 in 4 British workers are affected by conditions like anxiety, depression and stress every year. This suggests there is a large number of workers who are currently suffering Mental Health issues but are unlikely to speak up about them. This then has a knock-on effect in increasing absences due to stress, which costs an average of £1,035 per employee per year. This would be hard to identify as an employer since 95% of employees off sick who are dealing with stress will give a different reason to their employer.

There are a number of initiatives currently on going to try and help this issue, one of them is Time to Change who offer advice to help with Mental Health issues in work. So, check them out if you would like to get involved or get your employer involved. What are your views on the issues that people face with Mental Health in the work place? Let us know in the comments below!

Cheers,

Dan

Sources:

(ComRes. “BBC Radio 5 Live Mental Health In The Workplace Survey”. Accessed 12/05/17. https://www.comresglobal.com/polls/bbc-radio-5-live-mental-health-in-the-workplace-survey/)

(Time To Change. “Employer Pledge”. Accessed 12/05/17. https://www.time-to-change.org.uk/get-involved/get-your-workplace-involved/employer-pledge)

Interview Availability

May 5, 2017 | By | No Comments

Another Bank Holiday down and we are quickly back round to the end of week ritual of the Blog, I hope the short week was as enjoyable for you all as it was for me. After discussing (Read: heated debate) with the team about what we wanted to be the topic of this week’s blog we came to Interview availability. This may seem like a strange topic to have as a choice for the blog but we want to ensure that anyone that we put forward has the best chance to securing the role.

The first point at which Interview availability comes up is right at the start with the application for the position. There is a spot in the application form for filling this out, alternatively if you have been contacted by one of our recruiters they may ask for these details over the phone or by email. This may seem to be an easy question to answer but it is important to note all the dates and times when you are unable to attend an interview for the next 4 to 6 weeks. This can range from holidays, festivals, appointments or business meetings, though this is far from an exhaustive list (if anything comes up in the interim between the application and the interview, please let us know so we can pass on the changes). When considering what days and times are off limit for an interview, it will also be important to consider the location of the role as travel time will need to be taken into account for availability.

When you receive an offer for an interview we will give you the details for the interview, such as date, time, location, interview type and who will conduct the interview. Sometimes there may be a conflict with the date and time for the interview, in cases like this we would strongly recommend that you try to keep to the original interview slot. The reason for this comes to the fact that the original interview time slot has to be declined in order to request a new date and time. In some cases if the hiring manager is unable to re-schedule, the original interview request will have disappeared and the interview will now be unavailable. We don’t want this to happen to candidates, so we recommended accepting the original time slot offered.

A main reason why interviews are difficult to rearrange is the Hiring Manager would have arranged a date and time which ensures that their meeting rooms and the interview panel are available at the same time. This would have taken into account the details that were submitted by you in your application. Another reason is that some Hiring Managers like to interview the other candidates before making a decision on re-arranging an interview. In this case if they find a candidate they think is suitable for the role in the original interview time slots offered, they can offer this candidate and not re-schedule other candidates.

This isn’t to say that interviews cannot be rearranged at all, it is just that there is an element of risk that is involved with doing so and we would like to give you the best chance of securing a role. With this overview on the interview availability we hope that it creates a smooth process between application to offer. If you have any questions about what we have covered today or if there is anything in particular you want to see in future blogs, let us know in the comments.

Warm Regards,

Dan

Salaries in the UK

April 28, 2017 | By | No Comments

It is always fun putting the blog together as I get to look into some interesting topics or learn about the finer details about EGB and how we work. Then I get to share all that with you and once it is put out and live on the website, it’s the countdown to the weekend. This week’s blog is taking a look at some recent information that the Office of National Statistics has put out in regards to the average salaries for a large variety of jobs throughout the UK.

ONS assessed over 20 million people’s earnings throughout the UK and calculated what the average salary was for 145 common jobs in the UK. Along with that they also worked out the average salary overall, which came out to be £27,271. For the list there doesn’t seem to be any real shockers in the ranks of each role with the top three being Brokers at £133,677, Chief executives and senior officials at £107,703 and Aircraft pilots and flight engineers at £90,146. On the opposite end of the spectrum you have Cleaners at £7,919, Waitresses at £7,554 and Bar staff at £7,404.

Below we have listed a number of roles that we recruit for and where they come on the list.

10. Human resource managers and directors – £56,315
11. Sales accounts and business development managers – £51,576
14. Business and financial project management professionals – £47,795
18. Finance and investment analysts and advisers – £45,490
19. Property, housing and estate managers – £44,423
23. Mechanical engineers – £43,029
24. Financial accounts managers – £41,389
25. Quantity surveyors – £41,086
26. Information technology and telecommunications professionals – £40,957
27. Programmers and software development professionals – £40,748
28. Construction project managers and related professionals – £40,519
29. Advertising accounts managers and creative directors – £40,510
31. Civil engineers – £40,200
32. Rail transport operatives – £40,060
35. Chartered and certified accountants – £38,692
41. Chartered surveyors – £36,470
43. Business, research and administrative professionals – £35,545
45. Journalists, newspaper and periodical editors – £34,639
46. Engineering technicians – £34,355

We can see a lot of the contract roles that we recruit for are on the higher end of the scale which is nice to know, and we can certainly see that reflected in the day rates for the roles that we recruit for. So if you would like to work your way up the list, perhaps you could get in touch and we can help find your next role. You can find all the appropriate details to get in touch on our contact us page.

Warm Regards,

Dan

Sources:
https://www.thesun.co.uk/living/3341994/average-salaries-uk-jobs/
http://www.lsbf.org.uk/blog/news/education-careers/ons-figures-reveal-average-pay-jobs-in-uk/109969

References

April 21, 2017 | By | No Comments

Welcome back to the EGB Blog, we hope that you had a nice Easter and that work is treating you well. The long weekend was nice but we are all getting stuck back into work and the roles are flying. This week on the blog we are taking a look at References, including what information we need, how to provide them and how to source them.

When you are offered a role through EGB, as part of the on-boarding stage we are required to carry out a BPSS Security Check. As part of this check we need to confirm employment history so we will need to gain professional references for any work that you have carried out in the last 3 years. The references that we require is evidence that you have performed the work that is stated on your CV. We would be looking for someone that we can contact that would be able to confirm this. This should be either your line manager or a member of the HR department.

It would be useful if you have all your reference details ready at interview stage. While they are not required for interview, once offered we have 48 hours to collect the on-boarding documents which include the references. Therefore, as soon as you have accepted the offer we would need to start obtaining references as some referees can take a while to respond. As with all references, it would be an advantage if you could make sure that the person that would be providing a reference is aware that they will be asked and will be expecting a call from us.

The references can be either a completed EGB reference form, a reference on company headed paper, or stated in an email. The most important part of the reference is that they provide the start and end date of the time you were in this position, which would include both months and years. The referees must also provide their name, job title, and address within the reference.

Unfortunately, we cannot accept references which have been provided to other companies or agencies, we would need to secure these references ourselves. However, if we have retrieved references for you previously, we can use these references later on a future contract.

You may also be required to provide personal references at interview stage if the position is with certain government departments. In this case, you would need to obtain 2 personal references from someone you have known for at least 5 years. We will provide you with the form that is required for these personal references.

We hope this look into references gives you an idea on what to expect and how to go about collecting or giving reference details. If you have any other questions let us know in the comments below or give us a call on the normal contact details. Perhaps you could suggest something that you would like to see in future blogs and we will endeavour to cover it when we can.

Warm Regards,

Dan

The EGB Application Form

April 7, 2017 | By | 2 Comments

Friday has rolled around again and comes with it another blog and the weekend. It certainly looks like it will be a nice weekend for us, we have had fantastic weather recently and hope that it continues. This week’s blog is going to take a look at the application form that we use for our roles and how it should be filled out. I am sure that many of you will already know it quite well but a quick helpful reminder can never hurt!

The first section of the application form is the job description which provides a breakdown of the role, so this includes the role duties, tasks, and the experience and skills that are required. You may have noticed that in this section we have also started to include that IR35 status of the role, so you can see whether or not the role is inside or out of scope of the regulations. Below the job specification is where the application form actually begins, we have tried to make this as straight forward as possible and will go over each heading below.

Full name – In this box we are looking for your full name as stated on your passport. This is important as if you are successful the security checks and system work on your official name.

Requirement applied for and Requirement ID – These should already be filled in on the form, but if you want to apply for a couple of roles, make sure the role ID is correct on each application form.

Notice period – This one is straight forward enough, the amount of notice you are required to give your current employer before leaving your current position.

Interview availability – In this area is where you fill out your availability for an interview such as any preferred dates and if there are any days that you will be unable to attend an interview. It is important that you are thorough with this as interviews cannot always be rearranged. So think over all things that would make you unavailable over the short term, such as meetings, appointments, holidays, etc. and make a note on the application form.

Candidate’s intended operating method – This is where you can indicate how you will be providing services to the company. This can be done as Limited Company, under an Umbrella Company or as a PAYE Employee (depending on IR35 status). Simply put in which type you would like to use (you can find more information on operating methods on our blog post here).

Candidate’s Required Day Rate – For this heading you will need to write down your required day rate for the role you are going for. We always recommend going a little bit under the max rate so that you will look more competitive compared to other applicants.

Holidays / Short Breaks / Festivals / Unavailable dates – This is more conventional in letting the hiring manager know of days that you will need to have off over the course of the contract. Please include anything you would have put for the interview availability just in case that the turnaround is quick on the role.

Date of Birth – For this we simply require the day that you were born. For example, if you were born on the 27th of January 1970 the number would be 27.

NI Number – For the National Insurance number we only require the last three characters. If your NI number is QQ 12 34 56 C, we would need 56C.

Please state level of security clearance held and expiry dates if applicable (i.e. BPSS/CTC*/SC*/DV*) – There is a sub form to fill in for your Security Clearance level. If you hold CTC, SC, or DV please state what company or government department holds the clearance, the date that you left the role that holds/held the clearance, your nationality (including dual nationalities), and your place of birth. This helps the hiring manager know if you already hold clearance as some positions require you to already have the clearance, whereas others will put you through the clearance if you are the right fit.

Suitability Statement – The final section on the application form is the Suitability Statement which will give you a place to write a small response to demonstrate how you meet each experience point. This section is important as it can show what previous experience you have gained from other contract positions and showcase any qualifications/certifications that you have obtained which can make you stand out for the position you are applying for.

And that is the EGB Application Form, hopefully this will help you in future with filling out our applications. If you have any further questions either leave a comment below or give us a call and we would be happy to help.

Warm regards,

Dan