Bank of England Criticised for Costly, Slow Tech Progress
The Bank of England has been criticised by a Commons Select Committee report for its outdated technology, culture and procurement practices. The report states that the bank’s technology and processes are “overly complicated, inefficient and very costly to administer”.
The BoE’s tech operations, in particular, came under fire for incurring higher costs than public sector benchmarks, and heavily reliant on legacy technology.
“The Bank’s technology operations and HR cost £101.4 million and £15.8 million respectively in 2017–18,” the report states. “These costs are expensive compared with public sector benchmarks. For example, the comparable cost of its ICT is 33.6% more expensive than the central government benchmark.”
“The Bank concedes that the extent of legacy systems and manual processing means that there is significant potential for it to make savings in its technology systems and support,” it continues.
The report also observes that the reliance on legacy systems opens up significant room for improvement at the central bank, which the bank admits to. Although working practices came under fire, the committee conceded that the Bank of England has “made some progress modernising aspects of its technology”
It also pointed to problems incorporating the Prudential Regulation Authority's systems when it absorbed the body in 2014; this led to duplicated applications and the need to integrate large datasets.
"The Bank told us that the integration of these systems took a substantial amount of time to deal with and that its data centre migration programme had been cleansing many of those systems and applications, which took additional time," the report says.