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MPs slam government over EDS secrecy

CSA IT controversy rumbles on

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The committee of MPs investigating the failure of IT systems at the Department of Work and Pensions has reacted angrily to the government's response to their highly-critical report.

Back in July the committee published its report into the Child Support Agency system provided by EDS. It described the project rather unkindly as "an appaling waste of public money" that should be binned if it wasn't working by the end of the year. It also recommended some form of public scrutiny of such contracts.

But the government has responded by saying commercial confidentiality means the secrecy has to stay. The government claims the Freedom of Information Act provides adequate access.

The chairman of the committee Sir Archie Kirkwood said he was disappointed with the government's reaction. He told epolitix.com: " We produced a well-argued report into how the government's record on IT projects could be improved."

"Our report was widely recognised throughout the media and industry as a solid piece of work with a set of impressive recommendations. But instead of addressing the committee's concern, the department defends its secretive approach on grounds of commercial confidentiality and says that it will make information available in the context of the Freedom of Information Act. This isn't good enough." Kirkwood said the committee would not let the matter rest.

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