Feeds

UK gov holds EDS to account over crap CSA system

Another IT cock-up

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Seven Steps to Software Security

Staff at the Child Support Agency are using pocket calculators to work out what people owe, thanks to the comprehensive failure of its IT system from EDS.

Less than half the 320,000 applications received since March 2003, when the system was launched, has been processed.

The Work and Pensions sub-committee took evidence last week from Andrew Smith, work and pensions secretary. He admitted that the cost of processing applications was 20 per cent higher using the new IT system and told MPs the original contract could have been better drafted. Smith also said the department was looking to reduce its reliance on one provider - EDS provides 85 per cent of the Department of Work and Pensions' systems.

In a written answer, he said: "Technical issues continue to preclude reliable figures on compliance and throughput for the latest quarter. The Department continues to retain around 15–20 per cent of each monthly payment due to EDS, the service provider, due to the continuing problems with the computer and telephony systems. A special exercise is being undertaken to test accuracy to the year-end."

Liberal Democrats say the failure means 95,000 single parents are missing out on payments totalling £45m a year.

Professor Steve Webb, LibDem shadow work and pensions spokesman, said: "It is scandalous that the Government continues to fritter away huge sums of money trying to put the CSA's house in order. Under Labour the CSA has gone from bad to worse. We now have two different systems that don't work properly and thousands of lone parents missing out. Lone parents have been let down and left out of pocket.

"It's high time the CSA was scrapped and the Inland Revenue was allowed to do the sums and make sure people pay up on time."

The £400m computer system was supposed to go live in October 2001 but was finally switched on in March 2003. ®

Related stories

EDS to sue NHS over nixed email deal
Inland Revenue sacks EDS
Government IT: wasting money to win votes
CSA computer system £50m over budget'

The Power of One Infographic

More from The Register

next story
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
UK Parliament rubber-stamps EMERGENCY data grab 'n' keep bill
Just 49 MPs oppose Drip's rushed timetable
MPs wave through Blighty's 'EMERGENCY' surveillance laws
Only 49 politcos voted against DRIP bill
EU's top data cops to meet Google, Microsoft et al over 'right to be forgotten'
Plan to hammer out 'coherent' guidelines. Good luck chaps!
US judge: YES, cops or feds so can slurp an ENTIRE Gmail account
Crooks don't have folders labelled 'drug records', opines NY beak
Delaware pair nabbed for getting saucy atop Mexican eatery
Burrito meets soft taco in alleged rooftop romp outrage
LightSquared backer sues FCC over spectrum shindy
Why, we might as well have been buying AIR
'Two-speed internet' storm turns FCC.gov into zero-speed website
Deadline for comments on net neutrality shake-up extended to Friday
prev story

Whitepapers

Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.