Colin Keir MSP

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Search for other Speeches made by 2. Colin Keir (Edinburgh Western) (SNP)

Public Audit Committee 17 December 2014 : Wednesday, December 17, 2014
Colin Keir

Okay. I understand the time constraints. I have a few other things to ask, but I will leave it there.



Public Audit Committee 17 December 2014 : Wednesday, December 17, 2014
Colin Keir

Of course. That takes us to the point that it is better to be risk aware than risk averse, or whatever.

On the timeline from when the Auditor General set the report and when it had to be published, so much information has come out recently, such as what the First Minister said last Thursday. We are looking at a different scenario now than we were previously. There is absolutely nothing wrong with the Auditor General’s report—it was of a time—but we have to be aware that a lot of the risks that are mentioned in the report are being dealt with. As you say, things have moved on quickly, even from what the First Minister said last week.



Public Audit Committee 17 December 2014 : Wednesday, December 17, 2014
Colin Keir

So it was all done for the best of reasons of cost-effectiveness.



Public Audit Committee 17 December 2014 : Wednesday, December 17, 2014
Colin Keir

Yes.



Public Audit Committee 17 December 2014 : Wednesday, December 17, 2014
Colin Keir

Thank you, convener, and good morning. I think that there is sometimes some paranoia in our committee that results from periodic discussions about other IT systems that have gone pear-shaped. I suspect that the HMRC £3 billion mess-up dwarves most things. In fact, having looked at exhibit 3 in the Auditor General’s report, I believe that if you can get from the beginning to the end in the manner that you are talking about you will probably have the most successful IT set-up that we have seen in many years in public services. If that happens, I will be the first to commend you.

As I said earlier, one of the things that had impressed me—although perhaps not others—particularly given HMRC’s record of wastage, with £3 billion lost, was the fact that you identified relatively early that it was better to have the IT project as an external project, rather than an in-house development. That is where the delays as identified in this report at this time came through.

Why did you come to that decision? Will you give me a clearer idea of the questions that you were asking at that time to allow you to make that evaluation?



Public Audit Committee 17 December 2014 : Wednesday, December 17, 2014
Colin Keir

Given that we are pressed for time, I will leave it there just now.



Public Audit Committee 17 December 2014 : Wednesday, December 17, 2014
Colin Keir

At the time that the report was written—I am certainly not having a go at you about that—there were concerns, but I think a lot of us are feeling a bit happier simply because of what we have heard after that. The enlightening bit of exhibit 3 was the relatively quick decision to say, “This is beyond us”, for whatever reason and to move the IT system to an external source. I think that that is commendable and it is good that it is highlighted in the report.



Public Audit Committee 17 December 2014 : Wednesday, December 17, 2014
Colin Keir (Edinburgh Western) (SNP)

Good morning. It seems to me that, to a certain extent, what has been said about the report has been overtaken by events. There is actually quite a lot of good stuff in it—I see it as a fairly positive report; the two issues are with staffing and IT. We might have on-going difficulties with the audit function as regards the rate of income tax, because Audit Scotland will not be the main functionary in that area. As a committee, we have talked about that over a period of months.

I turn to exhibit 3 on page 14 of the report. Last week, in an answer to Mr Rennie, the First Minister gave us an update on the Revenue Scotland staffing situation. Exhibit 3 is extremely helpful and is quite illuminating in that it shows that, between January and April, the initial decision to develop the IT system in-house was reversed after it was realised that, for whatever reason, it would be better to go to an external supplier.

The revised plan appears to be moving forward. At the point at which the report was prepared, you had some concerns, which I think have been allayed by what has been said recently. It is heartening to see that we have not ended up in the situation in which some other major IT projects have ended up, whereby they ploughed on regardless despite going way over budget, only to realise at a later stage the cost implications of doing so.

Something is happening here in that the revised plan would appear to be more or less on track. As we know, every IT system has a risk in it somewhere along the line. I am actually very heartened by a lot of what is in the report, because matters have been identified and taken forward.

We are looking at all this retrospectively. We had a clear answer from the First Minister on Thursday on the issue of staffing. Auditor General, you say that there is a risk. Moving away from the report, at this moment in time and given what you have heard in the past few weeks, is the risk the same as it was when you wrote the report or do you see a lightening of the load? The First Minister was fairly clear that although there are contingencies, there is no intention to use them at this time, given the work that has been done.

09:30  

Meeting of the Parliament 10 December 2014 : Wednesday, December 10, 2014
Colin Keir

Does the minister agree that programmes for investment in young people, such as learning for life, which is run by Diageo in my constituency, are vital if we are to maintain professional competence and drive in all sectors of the economy?



Meeting of the Parliament 10 December 2014 : Wednesday, December 10, 2014
2. Colin Keir (Edinburgh Western) (SNP)

To ask the Scottish Government what the youth employment trends are in the Edinburgh Western constituency. (S4O-03792)

Vote DetailMSP VoteResult

S4M-11901.3 Neil Findlay: Developing Scotland’s Young Workforce—As an amendment to motion S4M-11901
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NoDefeated

S4M-11901.1 Mary Scanlon: Developing Scotland’s Young Workforce—As an amendment to motion S4M-11901
>> Show more
NoDefeated

S4M-11830.2 John Swinney: The Smith Commission—As an amendment to motion S4M-11830 in the name of Ru
>> Show more
YesCarried

S4M-11830 Ruth Davidson: The Smith Commission—That the Parliament welcomes the publication of the Sm
>> Show more
YesCarried

Amendment 6 moved by Dr Richard Simpson on motion S4M-11826 Maureen Watt: Food (Scotland) Bill—That
>> Show more
NoDefeated

S4M-11825.3 Claire Baker: End of Year Fish Negotiations—As an amendment to motion S4M-11825 in the n
>> Show more
NoDefeated

S4M-11825.2 Jamie McGrigor: End of Year Fish Negotiations—As an amendment to motion S4M-11825 in the
>> Show more
NoDefeated

S4M-11825.1 Tavish Scott: End of Year Fish Negotiations—As an amendment to motion S4M-11825 in the n
>> Show more
NoDefeated

S4M-11825 Richard Lochhead: End of Year Fish Negotiations—That the Parliament welcomes the successfu
>> Show more
YesCarried

S4M-11763.3 Margaret Burgess: Private Sector Rent Reform—As an amendment to motion S4M-11763 in the
>> Show more
YesCarried

Search for other Motions lodged by Colin Keir
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Motion S4M-10902: Colin Keir, Edinburgh Western, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 01/09/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-08902: Colin Keir, Edinburgh Western, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 30/01/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-08809: Colin Keir, Edinburgh Western, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 20/01/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-08591: Colin Keir, Edinburgh Western, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 11/12/2013 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-08377: Colin Keir, Edinburgh Western, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 21/11/2013 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-08329: Colin Keir, Edinburgh Western, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 15/11/2013 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-08292: Colin Keir, Edinburgh Western, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 13/11/2013 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-07752: Colin Keir, Edinburgh Western, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 19/09/2013 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-07749: Colin Keir, Edinburgh Western, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 18/09/2013 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-07367: Colin Keir, Edinburgh Western, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 31/07/2013 Show Full Motion >>
Search for other Questions asked by Colin Keir
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Question S4O-03792: Colin Keir, Edinburgh Western, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 02/12/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03750: Colin Keir, Edinburgh Western, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 18/11/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03718: Colin Keir, Edinburgh Western, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 12/11/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03675: Colin Keir, Edinburgh Western, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 05/11/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03655: Colin Keir, Edinburgh Western, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 29/10/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03488: Colin Keir, Edinburgh Western, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 12/08/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03472: Colin Keir, Edinburgh Western, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 06/08/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03213: Colin Keir, Edinburgh Western, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 07/05/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03160: Colin Keir, Edinburgh Western, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 22/04/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03126: Colin Keir, Edinburgh Western, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 16/04/2014 Show Full Question >>

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