Feeds

Accenture denies responsibility for payments failure

'Component in the jigsaw, but not the whole picture'

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Bridging the IT gap between rising business demands and ageing tools

The consultancy and technology firm told MPs that it was not responsible for the failure of the Rural Payments Agency to deliver subsidies to farmers on time.

Less than half of the £1.5bn subsidies owed to farmers under the Single Payment Scheme (SPS) had been paid by the April deadline.

In a three hour grilling by the Environment Food and Rural Affairs sub-committee on 22 May, Accenture director Peter Holmes insisted Accenture had "fulfilled specifications outlined in the fixed term, fixed price contract".

He said the company was not responsible for "other components in the system". Accenture chiefs told MPs, the 'Rita' IT system was a key component in a jigsaw that enables payment - but was not the whole picture.

Holmes told MPs the failure to pay the subsidies was down to "business processes".

"Our contract was to deliver a system that met a specification and to demonstrate that the system met that specification, which it did."

Accenture said 'Rita', had been up and running since October 2005. But the committee criticised the lack of live testing of the Accenture system.

The committee also argued the system had "gummed up" when confronted with volumes of land changes and an unexpected increase in customers.

Accenture director Sean Shine said the volume of land changes were up to "11 times the original expectation".

Rural Payments Agency staff had to validate land details sent by farmers, which led to the payment failures.

MPs also heard how Accenture, despite holding the largest IT contract that had jumped from the original £34m to a renegotiated £54m, had not been involved in any policy change discussions following the announcement of Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) reforms.

Committee chair, Conservative MP Michael Jack, said he was shocked by the revelation, he said: "Accenture provided the engine for delivering the system but had no idea what was going on in the outside world. That is unbelievable."

This article was originally published at Kablenet.

Kablenet's GC weekly is a free email newsletter covering the latest news and analysis of public sector technology. To register click here.

Seven Steps to Software Security

More from The Register

next story
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple ran off to IBM
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Nadella: Apps must run on ALL WINDOWS – PCs, slabs and mobes
Phone egg, meet desktop chicken - your mother
HP, Microsoft prove it again: Big Business doesn't create jobs
SMEs get lip service - what they need is dinner at the Club
ITC: Seagate and LSI can infringe Realtek patents because Realtek isn't in the US
Land of the (get off scot) free, when it's a foreign owner
Samsung threatens to cut ties with supplier over child labour allegations
Vows to uphold 'zero tolerance' policy on underage workers
Dude, you're getting a Dell – with BITCOIN: IT giant slurps cryptocash
1. Buy PC with Bitcoin. 2. Mine more coins. 3. Goto step 1
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
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
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
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.
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.