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UK.gov will scrutinise all its Atos contracts following IT cock-up

Cabinet Office rolls up sleeves, snaps on gloves

The government is to cast a critical eye over all its contracts with Atos – worth £696m per year – after MPs urged the Cabinet Office to review its relationship with the outsourcer following an IT failure last year.

A report by the Public Accounts Committee in December singled out Atos as having failed to show "an appropriate duty of care to the taxpayer” over an IT system designed to allow the extraction of data from all GP practice computer systems in England.

Costs of the system, which started five years late, have ballooned from £14m to £40m.

The committee urged the Cabinet Office to review Atos’s relationships as a supplier to the Crown, and to ensure the reasons for the project’s failure “are disseminated widely to reinforce the steps that need to be taken to avoid such mistakes being repeated again”.

A Cabinet Office spokesperson said today: "In line with the committee's recommendation, the Cabinet Office is undertaking a review of all current Atos contracts with central government with an annual spend of over £10m."

Atos has defended itself against the PAC, pointing out that it was one of seven suppliers on the contract and was responsible for a single part of the system.

A spokesperson from Atos said it welcomed the review. “We look forward to working with the Cabinet Office with whom we have a transparent and open relationship and we look forward to maintaining our green rating for delivery across Whitehall,” she said.

For the full financial year 2014, Atos' public sector sales rose 18 per cent to £696m, according to analysis by research company TechMarketView.

Atos was recently awarded a contract with London's Met Police to integrate its new IT systems.

TechMarketView noted that last year the company won a number of digital transformation and service integration bids with Edinburgh City Council, a £125m end user computing deal with the Ministry of Justice and was chosen as the Ministry of Defence's strategic partner. ®

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