£50k a day on consulting about what exactly?

Home Office Watch Blog has pointed me in the direction of this interesting piece on Computing.com. Computing pursued a Freedom of Information request with regard to consultancy and the new ID card system. It turns out the government has spent a whopping £53m on consultants for the national biometric identity card scheme, and continues to use 83 external contractors at a cost of nearly £50,000 per day - and counting, of course! This is more than double the £19m the estimate the government had with a view to its pre-procurement consulting. What are they doing for £50k a day!? How can this possibly represent value for money? This is before anything has even been procured as well - what will the IT companies cost them when or if it finally gets implemented.

Computer also reports that the IT industry is getting a bit fed up with all this. "The current position is unsustainable" said one industry source. "The market needs to know if the scheme is going ahead, not least in the context of the government continuing to spend so heavily on consultants." It could yet be that they spend well in excess of £50m on a scheme that never sees the light of day. And that would be best outcome - the cost if this pointless scheme if it does go ahead (which I suspect it will) will be billions.