In the Media

DCA overhauls IT suppliers

PUBLISHED September 22, 2006

The Department for Constitutional Affairs (DCA) has awarded IT contracts worth an estimated ?500 million in total to LogicaCMG and Atos Origin.

The two contracts ? to provide the IT for the county, civil, family, magistrates and crown courts, as well as the IT for the DCA itself ? will take the place of all courts and IT contracts when they expire, including those for the Libra project, which has run massively over-budget and is years late.

None of the providers originally tasked with building the courts? IT systems, or running those for the DCA itself, will stay on.

The two new contracts essentially overwrite what were the DCA?s e-delivery group?s services, replacing from next year the six contracts covering Libra (IT in the magistrates? courts), LOCCS (IT in the civil, county and family courts), ARAMIS (DCA headquarters) and Web hosting for the DCA.

Libra?s contractors are Fujitsu Services, STL and management consultants Accenture. LOCCS is provided by EDS, ARAMIS by Liberata, with Web hosting by Cable & Wireless. The DCA had arranged for all the old contracts to finish sometime in 2007, but Libra will not be finished by then.

Alex Allan, permanent secretary at the DCA, told Parliament?s public accounts committee in June that ?a bit of it rolls out later in 2007? and that he ?very much hoped? that Libra ?will all be rolled out by March 2008?. Therefore, Fujitsu, STL and Accenture will exit the project without having finished it.

So far, to March 2007, Libra will have already cost the taxpayer more than ?400 million.

Fujitsu confirmed it had bid for the contract, but said ?unfortunately we did not reach the shortlist?. EDS said it was ?disappointed? it had not been selected as preferred bidder for DCA infrastructure services, but thanked the DCA evaluation team for a ?fair, rigorous, challenging and professional procurement?.

It is understood that Accenture did not bid, but the firm declined to comment. It is not known whether the other suppliers put in a bid as STL and Cable & Wireless declined to comment, and Liberata could not be reached for comment.