Feeds

Her Majesty's £444m court IT system can't even add up fines

Auditors unable to get hold of revenue accounts

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Build a business case: developing custom apps

The Libra magistrates' courts case management system has contributed to the inability of HM Courts Service to produce basic financial information to support its accounts, according to a report from the National Audit Office (NAO).

The courts service uses Libra, plus information produced by local police forces' IT systems, to provide the auditor with accounts of the revenues it collects from fines, confiscation orders and penalties. On receipt of cash, for example, the courts service uses Libra to record the payment against the person on whom the fine was imposed.

A similar system operates at the courts service's fixed penalty offices, using information from police forces, based principally on the Vehicle Procedures and Fixed Penalty Office system.

Amyas Morse, head of the NAO, said: "Because of limitations in the underlying systems, HM Courts Service has not been able to provide me with proper accounting records relating to the collection of fines, confiscation orders and penalties. I have therefore disclaimed my audit opinion on its trust statement accounts."

The auditor said the Ministry of Justice (MoJ), the courts service's parent department, plans to look at the functionality of Libra.

The MoJ said that improvements to the accounts for fixed penalties are unlikely until the current Vehicle Procedures and Fixed Penalty Office IT system is replaced with Pentip.

Morse said: "I welcome the further steps planned by the courts service and Ministry of Justice to improve the evidence on its financial position relating to fines, confiscation orders and penalties. However, I recognise that they and other government bodies face significant challenges in improving the extent of available data and on reducing the level of outstanding debt."

The cost of Libra was £444m, plus services charges of some £10m a year. The system is now run by Fujitsu, but the original supplier, ICL, estimated its cost at £146m over 11 years when bidding for the project in May 1998. ®

This article was originally published at Guardian Government Computing.

Guardian Government Computing is a business division of Guardian Professional, and covers the latest news and analysis of public sector technology. For updates on public sector IT, join the Government Computing Network here.

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Why has the web gone to hell? Market chaos and HUMAN NATURE
Tim Berners-Lee isn't happy, but we should be
Microsoft boots 1,500 dodgy apps from the Windows Store
DEVELOPERS! DEVELOPERS! DEVELOPERS! Naughty, misleading developers!
'Stop dissing Google or quit': OK, I quit, says Code Club co-founder
And now a message from our sponsors: 'STFU or else'
Apple promises to lift Curse of the Drained iPhone 5 Battery
Have you tried turning it off and...? Never mind, here's a replacement
Linux turns 23 and Linus Torvalds celebrates as only he can
No, not with swearing, but by controlling the release cycle
Scratched PC-dispatch patch patched, hatched in batch rematch
Windows security update fixed after triggering blue screens (and screams) of death
This is how I set about making a fortune with my own startup
Would you leave your well-paid job to chase your dream?
prev story

Whitepapers

Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up distributed data
Eliminating the redundant use of bandwidth and storage capacity and application consolidation in the modern data center.
The essential guide to IT transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIOs automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.