Metronet collapse: NAO slams poor information management

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Metronet collapse: NAO slams poor information management

Rebecca Thomson

The failure of Metronet, which maintained two-thirds of the London Underground but collapsed in July 2007, was partly due to the poor dissemination and use of information.

A National Audit Office (NAO) report found that poor quality of information meant Metronet was unable to monitor costs or performance properly.

It was also unable to provide London Underground with this information, affecting communication between the two.

The NAO estimated the collapse of the company cost the taxpayer between £170m and £410m.

Tubelines, the company that maintains the Jubilee, Picadilly and Northern lines, has put a big emphasis on the efficient management of information and its role in effectively maintaining trains and equipment.

Director of information John Connolly has told Computer Weekly that better quality information about equipment will improve efficiency, because maintenance will only be carried out when it is needed, instead of on a regular basis.

The current system of planned maintenance means assets are maintained whether they need it or not.

Connolly told Computer Weekly, "It is organised but not very cost effective. We are looking at changing the business of maintenance, using information on the performance of a product. Manufacturers give you information on the life-time of a product, and we will need systems that give performance information in real-time," he says."

The NAO report on Metronet said, "The poor quality of information available to management, particularly on the unit costs of the station and track programmes, meant that Metronet was unable to monitor costs and could not obtain adequate evidence to support claims to have performed work economically and efficiently."

The poor supply of information helped to lead to poor corporate governance and leadership, which led to the collapse of the company.


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