US IT company given second chance at Child Support Agency

The US IT services company blamed for the biggest computer crash in the history of the UK’s public sector has reportedly won approval to extend a £450m Child Support Agency (CSA) contract.

The work and pensions secretary, Alan Johnson, is permitting EDS to jointly manage a CSA claims processing centre, despite widespread criticism of technology installed by the company, according to the Guardian.

A confidential report seen by the newspaper details how EDS is to co-run the CSA facility in Accrington, covering North West England and Wales.

EDS was fined £12.1m for CSA computer faults, which were partly responsible for seven in eight parents getting incorrect payments. In November 2004, 80,000 of the Department for Work and Pension’s 100,000 computers, operated by EDS and Microsoft, went down in what was described as the public sector’s most extensive failure.

Mark Serwotka, the general secretary of the PCS union, told the Guardian: “It beggars belief that the agency is rewarding a company that has failed to deliver.”


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