The PSB saga continues


14 Feb 2003

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Reach, the cross-departmental agency responsible for developing e-government services, has made another shortlist for the Public Services Broker (PSB), the electronic clearing house for the delivery of a wide range of public services.

The best-and-final-offer shortlist firms, however, have yet to be approved at government level and will be announced in the coming weeks.

It is believed that the six remaining bidders — Accenture, Hewlett-Packard, KPMG Consulting, Logica, PA Consulting and Siemens — have been shortlisted to two firms. It will, however, be several months before a winner is announced, a spokesman for Reach told siliconrepublic.com.

The PSB is seen as the central nervous system of the Government’s plan to create an integrated online public services framework. It will act as a central data vault for citizens, storing their personal details and private information in a way that will enable them to interact with public bodies over the internet.

Over 25 high-profile technology companies tendered for this lucrative government contract over a year ago. Reach originally hoped to make a decision on the supplier of the PSB by the end of July last year, with construction to begin a few weeks later. However, it is behind schedule due to inter-departmental wrangles.

As reported by siliconrepublic.com in December, a rift between the Department of Finance and Reach revealed a lack of confidence in the management of this online public services strategy and operating costs. Reach came under fire from the Department of Finance for the planning, management and excessive expenditure of the programme.

The cost of the project has yet to be decided, but is expected to run into tens of millions of euro. The PSB is now expected to launch this November, some 16 months later than originally planned.

By Lisa Deeney