Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Balls Should Quit After SATS U-Turn

Switching the SATS marking from EDS back to the government's quango has blown Ed Balls' excuses right out of the water. He should be taught a lesson and quit. 

The schools secretary watched the fiasco unfold, defending himself saying he was 'accountable' but not 'responsible'. 

That set a very dangerous precedent. Arguing accountability not responsibility gave him the weak defence that this wasn't a resigning matter.

Now the government's National Assessment Agency is to take control of the re-marking of disputed SATs papers from ETS Europe. This means they've admitted responsibility for the mess. That quango is a government agency and comes right under Balls. 

The five-year contract to ETS was written by National Assessment Agency, which is part of the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority, which is part of the Department for Children, Schools and Families, which is a successor to the Department for Education and Skills which is the responsibility of Ed Balls.

The Secretary of State must have signed off the original £156m contract and authorised the switching back. So he is responsible. If he didn't, then who's running the country?

This is just the latest in a whole series of government cock-ups over big IT projects awarded to their pals in the IT industry. It's costing the country billions of pounds and countless suffering to people. 

Ministers have found a neat little device to hide behind, saying they know nothing and it's all down to their own quangos. It happened at the Rural Payments Agency and with tax credit problem.

The NHS's £12.7billion IT programme is turning into the biggest financial disaster on the planet and no-one in government is admitting responsibility. 

These get-out clauses used by ministers for big IT projects are a scandal. Ministers are accountable and responsible. And if they don't like that or they preside over a cock-up, they should quit the job.

1 comment:

Silent Hunter said...

Yes he should quit!......but he won't, will he!

Labour Politicians don't 'do' shame!

Which is odd when you think that they are such a 'shameless' party.