Yes Minister – Three Cheers for the Complex Transactions Group!

(Part 2 of our latest homage to the brilliant Yes Minster and Yes Prime Minister series, written by Antony Jay and Jonathan Lynn. Part 1 is here).

So Minister, you raised the new Cabinet Office Complex Transactions Group. This is the team who are going to help us with complex IT projects. I understand they were going to call themselves the “Big Deal” team until someone pointed out  this sounded a little too much like a TV game show for comfort.

- So are you against that idea, Humphrey? More interference from Cabinet  Office. and this time it isn’t just about our stationery contracts, this is getting to the heart of our activities, complex policy initiatives and so on. They all need complex IT, don’t they? And now I’m going to have the Cabinet Office all over me. And did I tell you I’ve never liked Francis Maude..

Yes Minister. With remarkable regularity...  But after due consideration Minister, I am not at all opposed to the Complex Transactions Team. In fact I have a proposal.

- Really?

Yes.  I would like to formally recommend that we hand over responsibility for our new Department of Administrative Affairs national residential property IT system – you know, the Strategic Housing Information Tool – to the Complex Transactions Group.

-  Humphrey? It’s most unlike you to give away power, or budget, or people to another department?

Well Minister, in the full consideration of the strategic merits of alternative delivery options, and being mindful of the specialist commercial and technical requirements underpinning the skill-sets necessary to execute a fully compliant yet commercially advantageous contractual situation, I do in this case and without prejudice to future contracting decisions, feel that the option of transferring the responsibility to our esteemed colleagues in Cabinet Office is the moist efficacious solution to the particular scenario in question.

-  That doesn’t answer my question Humphrey. Well, I don’t think it does, anyway. Why are you giving this away?

Well Minister..

- You think it’s going to fail, don’t you? You think the S.H.I.T. system won’t work, or will cost us a fortune, or the supplier won’t deliver?

Minister, you can be so perceptive at times.  I fear that all the indications are negative I’m afraid. Four SROs in 12 months, costs already spiralling.. I fear an NPfIT or Fire Control Centres fiasco, to be perfectly blunt Minister. And that won’t be good for either of us, of course.

- So am I to assume Humphrey, that whenever in future you suggest the involvement of the Complex Transactions Group, this is an indicator that a project is in trouble? That you and your senior cronies think it will fail?

That is somewhat harsh Minister. But... well... yes Minister. Look, this is the perfect opportunity to offload any dubious IT projects onto the Cabinet Office. If they succeed, then we can reclaim the credit and it will be our system. If they fail, we can shake our heads knowingly and talk about naivety and lack of understanding of the real needs of the department. In common parlance, Minister, it is a win:win situation.

So what are you waiting for Humphrey? Transfer S.H.I.T to the Complex Transactions Group immediately!

Yes Minister. Of course.  A very wise decision!

First Voice

  1. RJ:

    Love it Peter! Sir Humphrey lives again. I particularly like the idea of a moist, efficacious solution!

    I also look forward to the team taking on responsibility for the Central Resourcing And Planning programme and the Baseline Operational Local Logistics Oversight for Complex Knowledge Systems.

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