Feeds

Accenture denies responsibility for payments failure

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

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

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.

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
Doctor Who's Flatline: Cool monsters, yes, but utterly limp subplots
We know what the Doctor does, stop going on about it already
'Cowardly, venomous trolls' threatened with TWO-YEAR sentences for menacing posts
UK government: 'Taking a stand against a baying cyber-mob'
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Arab States make play for greater government control of the internet
Nerds told to get lost in last-minute power grab bid at UN meeting
Zippy one-liners, broken promises: Doctor Who on the Orient Express
Series finally hits stride, but Clara's U-turn is baffling
Don't bother telling people if you lose their data, say Euro bods
You read that right – with the proviso that it's encrypted
Apple SILENCES Bose, YANKS headphones from stores
The, er, Beats go on after noise-cancelling spat
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.