Tuesday, 8 May 2012

India In The Driving Seat

Few of us may be aware that the Westminster government has apparently 'secretly agreed' with IBM that sensitive personal data on all 43 million drivers in the UK can be accessed offshore in India.

The data move is part of cost cutting measures by IBM, not the government, according to a recent report in the Observer.

The move was revealed after IBM, which runs the congestion charge zone for Transport for London, lobbied for a change to allow the data to be moved to a cheaper storage location.

The reason the move is controversial is because sensitive data from the DVLA, including credit card details, home addresses and registration plates, will now be moved outside the UK.

The decision was not publicly announced and the Observer cited union sources from the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union as saying that it appears neither IBM or DVLA were planning to tell anyone about it once the government apparently approved the decision following a review by ministers.

The move of British driver data to India is expected to be completed by 18 May.

In March the Lloyds Banking Group decided to offshore 503 IT jobs to India. There were no protests from MPs as far as I'm aware.

This mass exodus of services offshore and in particular India, is surely inappropriate in times when we have millions unemployed.  How much more corporate greed do we have to witness before politicians realise that privatising public services and public funds and outsourcing to other countries is a short term quick fix with a long term ever increasing cost and the only people who will benefit are the fat cats at the top of the pile?  It does not improve the quality of service - in fact quite the opposite.

So much for 'job creation' when our politicians are allowing our public services to be creating jobs in foreign countries and thus making our own public service employees redundant.



English Pensioner said...

This is typical government thinking (or more accurately, lack of it). One department decides that it can make a saving by doing something without looking at the consequential costs elsewhere to another department.

Once upon a time, I used to pay my TV Licence at the Post Office, but TV Licensing in their wisdom decided to transfer the contract to Pay Point or some such organisation which uses local corner shops, presumably because the commission required was slightly less. Now it seems that pensioners who don't have a bank account and want cash will draw from the same organisation rather than the Post Office. Meanwhile another department finds that the small post offices can no longer make ends meet, and has to subsidise them in order to keep them open.
So move work to India and reduce the cost to one department, and at the same time produce unemployment here, increasing the benefits bill, which is of no concern to the department that is getting its work done more cheaply.
This is what governments call "joined-up thinking"!

Anonymous said...

I doubt that Indians are any more likely to be careless with the data than the English, or that Indians are intrinsically more corrupt than the English. If there's money to be made, there are going to be corruptions no matter where...

But why does the London government and indeed the previous one, feel obliged to privatize all these things which are essentially government functions?

Disenfranchised of Buckingham said...

The correct solution is to shut the DVLA. Who needs it? Pointless record keeping.

Anonymous said...

This is part of a wider pattern of exporting jobs overseas which has been going on for years. At the same time many of the large job gains through inward investment in the UK have been low paid and low skill jobs.

Whilst we can't do anything about the government allowing/driving UK Government department job exports we can do something about private businesses we deal with though. We can stop using them if they export jobs.

The loss of jobs hits the economy and the profits of the businesses who do it.

Joined up? Never. Short term always.

JRB said...

As the link for this article is dated March, I presume this is now just another governmental fiat accompli

Crinkly & Ragged Arsed Philosophers said...

Where do we send the cheques - Mumbia?

Joe Public said...

tris @ 11:25 said...

"I doubt that ....Indians are intrinsically more corrupt than the English. If there's money to be made, there are going to be corruptions no matter where...""

DVLA is based in Swansea & IBM is an American company, so your comparison should really be aimed at the Welsh and/or the Yanks.

I suspect that initial negotiations by IBM to 'offshore' the work began at a time when two Scotsmen (Brown & Darling) were leading the British Government.

Brian said...

tris at 11:25 wrote:

"I doubt that Indians are any more likely to be careless with the data than the English, or that Indians are intrinsically more corrupt than the English. If there's money to be made, there are going to be corruptions no matter where..."

This is what Indians think about corruption:



Why do Indians have foreign bank accounts equal to thirteen times GDP and why do Indian businesses prefer to invest abroad? Institutional corruption.

subrosa said...

It seems it will only get worse too EP. Scary.

subrosa said...

Tris, we are in a period of high unemployment. What are they doing giving jobs to other countries in the present climate?

subrosa said...

I think the DVLA has a place DoB, but that isn't India. Not for the records of British vehicles.

subrosa said...

We'll be on par with third world countries shortly TT.

subrosa said...

Yes JRB, it was only brought to my attention yesterday that the 'handover' would be completed by 18 May.

subrosa said...

Well they wouldn't be so brazen Crinkly. Or would they?

subrosa said...

I suspect it was Joe but DVLA, although based in Wales, is relevant to the UK as a whole. As far as I know IBM operate the recording system but the DVLA is a government body.

subrosa said...

Good links Brian. Thanks.

Edward Spalton said...

English Pensioner,
The destruction of the Post Office as a national service is mandated by EU Directive. For details look in the leaflets section on www.freebritain.org.uk
It has to be part of a rigged EU market in postal services which has chiefly benefited the junk mailers, making things cheaper for them but more expensive for private individuals.

With regard to India, has anyone yet picked up on MODE 4 ?- not a new fashion label but an agreement under negotiation between the EU and India (in which the UK will have little influence and no veto). This will allow India to come to us in a big way, allowing corporations to bring in workers for their own operations or as labour suppliers for other firms - and at wages which will look attractive in India but undercut normal British wages substantially.

It will also facilitate the export of British capital to India and so speed up the existing process by which Britain is quite deliberately importing labour but exporting capital - which is clean contrary to the idea of creating
a high capital, high added value, knowledge-based economy. They are obviously aiming for a low wage, labour intensive economy which will be in competition with even lower wages worldwide in a race to the bottom. Naturally, contract workers arriving here will be able to demand their human rights, eventually including access for their families.
The trade union-based organisation Campaign Against Euro Federalism has some good stuff on this. See

I have disagreements with this organisation on some things but they are pot on in this.

Jo G said...

When AOL moved its call centre network to India within a short time data had been illegally passed on to other parties.

I agree with you Subrosa, why on earth are these jobs being moved abroad at a time when we are desperate for jobs here? It is bad enough we have private companies looking to exploit the low wage economies in countries like India but it is shocking that now we have UK governments joining in.

I think the scariest part is no one is really kicking up much of a fuss.

subrosa said...

The excuse is that we must think global Jo.

I watched the first part of a documentary about a cushion making company in England recently (missed the second part). It showed that pay etc in China is rising quickly. Did you see it?

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