Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK), the body tasked with governing the competitive process for the UK’s superfast broadband rollout into rural areas, expects that in 2012-13 it will spend just 63 percent of its £3.8 million administration budget on the rural broadband delivery programme.
This figure is down from 100 percent of its £1 million budget in 2010-11, and 94 percent of its £5.85 million budget in 2011-12.
Minister for Culture and Communications, Ed Vaizey, has said that the diversion in funds has occurred as a result of the body taking on additional responsibilities, such as the Mobile Infrastructure Project and the Urban Broadband Fund.
It was also revealed at the end of last year that BDUK is paying external consultants an average of £834 a day, and between May 2010 and September 2012 spent a total of £9.8 million on 70 external advisers.
At the time of the consultant results being released, BDUK had spent only 10 percent less on consultants than it had on its administration costs.
This news follows the recent revelation by Labour MP Chi Onwurah, a regular contributor to Computerworld UK, that staff turnover at BDUK is looking at 110 percent for the last three quarters.
She said: “It is industry consensus that alarm bells should be ringing if staff turnover rates reach 25 percent per year.
“This chimes with what my contacts in industry and local authorities tell me. They complain of untrained and difficult to get hold of contract employees, constantly changing with little expertise and no long term outlook.”
BDUK is responsible for delivering the government’s ambition of having the best broadband network in Europe by 2015, where £830 million has been allocated to support the rollout. BDUK distributes the money to local authorities that bid for funding via a framework.
However, BDUK’s process has been dealt a number of blows in recent months. A recent Lords Committee report warned against its anti-competitive process after a number of suppliers pulled out of the running and left just BT and Fujitsu bidding for the funds, and to date only BT has won any public money.