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It Contracts

Volume 401: debated on Thursday 20 March 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will list IT contracts in his Department and its predecessors above £50 million in each of the last 10 years; what the inception date for each system was; when it became fully functional; when it became fully debugged; and what the cost of over-runs has been. [99003]

The information is as follows:

1. Contract: Modernising Employment Service. Employment Services outsourcing its IT work in a partnership agreement with Electronic Data Systems (EDS). This agreement was revised to reflect major new investment in IT and telephony to improve services for jobless people and employers in the Modernising Employment Service (MES) Project.
  • Inception Dates: August 1998—original outsourcing: October 2000—MES.
  • Dates fully functional: August 1998
  • Cost over-runs: None.
2. Contract: ACCORD Strategic Outsourcing Business Allocation (SOBA). The Department of Social Security awarded a contract to outsource all its IT provision. This contract also encompasses business outsourced previously in 1995 under Focus 95 arrangements, and is concerned with the maintenance, development and operation of the Department's existing IT systems.
  • Inception Date: 8 August 2000.
  • Date Fully Functional: 1 September 2000
  • Cost over-runs: None.
3. Contract: Child Support Reforms (CSR). The Department of Social Security awarded the contract, to provide new IT systems in support of the Child Support Agency. From 27 January 2003, new child support claims have been processed on existing rules. Processing claims on new rules is scheduled to begin on 3 March 2003, consequently the system is not yet fully operational.
  • Inception Date: 8 August 2000.
  • Date Fully Functional: 27 January 2003
  • Cost over-runs: The amount the Department will pay has risen by around 7 per cent. over the term of the contract.
4. Contract: Early Office Infrastructure (EOI). These are a series of contracts to replace the desktops and associated equipment for the Departments employees and eventually the support arrangements for that kit. Two contracts of over £50 million have been awarded to date.
  • i) Mobilisation contract to build the infrastructure for the support.
    • Inception Date: January 2001.
    • Date Fully Functional: This is an IT service contract, not an IT development contract. There have been a number of contact changes to build volumes and functionality
    • Cost over-runs: Unable to identify any true cost over-runs at this stage as project not complete.
  • ii) Rollout contract to manage the implementation of the kit and associated equipment.
    • Inception Date: July 2001.
    • Date fully functional: This is an IT service contract, not an IT development contract. The original contract has been subject to extension.
    • Cost over-runs: Unable to identify any true cost over-runs at this stage as project not complete.
  • 5. Contract: New Tax Credits (NTC). The contract is for the delivery of new and amended DWP IT to enable joint working with the Inland Revenue on NTC and to reflect the changes in benefit rules resulting from the introduction of NTC.
    • Inception Date: 13 December 2002.
    • Date Fully Functional: Expected to be fully functional on 7 April 2003.
    • Cost over-runs: None
    6. Contract: Lots B, C and D. These outsourcing contracts let for support and implementation of Office Services to SEMA Group UK Ltd. (Lots B and C) and International Computers Ltd.
    • Inception Date: 14 June 1995. Contracts transferred to BT Arcway on 24 August 2000 under the ACCORD framework.
    • Date fully functional: 14 June 1995. These are IT service contracts, not IT development therefore no formal date for acceptance testing.
    • Cost over-runs: None.
    7. Contract: NOSP WAN. The Wide Area Network business allocation via BT provides network access to the former DSS estate.
    • Inception Date: 23 November 2000
    • Date fully functional: Ongoing
    • Cost over-runs: None.
    The information relates to contractual arrangements made by the Department for Work and Pensions, the former Employment Services and the former Department for Social Security.

    On the question of "debugging", the view is that no IT system is completely free from "bugs". However, the Department deals with these according to priority, working in partnership with private sector providers to eradicate on an ongoing basis.

    A list of IT contracts current at the time of Focus 95 outsourcing is available in the Library. Information prior to 1995 could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.