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Volume 405: debated on Monday 19 May 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what penalties have been incurred by Capita on the Criminal Records Bureau contract; and if he will make a statement. [114845]

There is provision for liquidated damages and service credits for delay or poor performance in the contract. The details of such damages and credits are commercial in confidence, and accordingly, would normally come within exemption 13 of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information. However, I have concluded that in this instance, it would be in the public interest not to continue to use the exemption.The following are details of all liquidated damages and service credits that have been incurred and agreed by Capita up to 31 January 2003:

liquidated damages for the delay of the development programme 2001–02—£555,000;
liquidated damages for functionality relating to National Intelligence Service 2002–03—£47,500;
liquidated damages for the delay of the web-based application channel 2002–03—£87,500; and
service credits up to 31 January 2003 (excluding those for September 2002, which by mutual agreement have been refunded, as they were mainly caused by the CRB Teacher Prioritisation exercise)—£1,123,697. (Service credits are sums deducted for failure to meet service standards e.g. turnaround times).

This gives a total £1,813,697 for liquidated damages and service credits that have been incurred up to 31 January 2003.

Service credits have continued to be deducted since 1 February 2003. However, agreement on the amounts are part of the on-going contractual negotiations relating to the implementation of the recommendations by the Independent Review Team appointed by my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary.

To put the above figures in context, Capita has been paid £20.4 million for their work associated with processing Disclosure applications up to 31 January 2003. This figure does not include ancillary charges for processing applications from organisations wishing to become registered bodies and for the accommodation, workstations and postage provided by Capita for use by the CRB's civil service staff; these charges amount to £2.9 million over the same period.