HC Deb 17 July 2001 vol 372 cc179-80W
Mr. Dobson

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will list the information technology contracts in excess of £500,000 let by his Department or its predecessor since April 1991, giving in each case the original estimated cost and original estimated completion date, the actual cost and actual completion date and the names of the contractors involved and consultants retained by his Department. [3511]

Mr. McCartney

The Employment Service and the Department of Social Security, had both made their own contractual arrangements for information technology (IT) prior to merging to form the Department for Work and Pensions.

Employment Service contracts The Employment Service awarded a contract to Siemens Business Service (SBS) to provide an electronic communications system. The service is called Escom and the contract start date was 1 March 1998 with an estimated value of £6 million over the life of the contract. This is a five-year contract due to end 28 February 2003.

Up until August 1998 all other IT work was performed "in-house" by Employment Services' IT division. From 1 August 1998 ES outsourced its IT work in a partnership agreement with Electronic Data Systems (EDS). The original agreement ran until July 2008 with a value of £370 million. In October 2000 the agreement was revised to reflect major new investment in IT and telephony to improve services for jobless people and employers in the Modernising Employment Service (MES) project. The partnership agreement is on-going and retains the original end date of July 2008 with a revised value of £806.5 million.

Department of Social Security contracts

From 1 September 2000 the Department of Social Security outsourced all its IT provision via the award of the ACCORD Strategic Outsourcing Business Allocation. ACCORD is an overarching contract under which future IT services to the Department will be provided by three groups of IT suppliers. The lead supplier group is led by Electronic Data Systems (EDS). The other two supplier groups are headed by British Telecom (BT) and International Computer Ltd. (ICL).

To date, four specific businesses allocations have been awarded under the ACCORD contract: The Strategic Outsourcing Business Allocation (SOBA) conferred lead supplier status on EDS and gave them responsibility for maintenance, development and operation of the Department's existing IT systems, together with a range of related IT services. The contract period is 1 September 2000 to 31 August 2010. The Child Support Reforms business allocation was awarded to EDS, to provide new IT systems in support of the Child Support Agency. The contract period is 1 September 2000 to 31 August 2010. The Networks and Office Services Provision (NOSP) business allocation was awarded to BT for the provision of networks and related communications services. The contract period is 30 April 2001 to 31 March 2006. A business allocation covering Focus 95 Lots B, C and D was awarded to BT for maintenance and support of office IT equipment. This novated contracts previously awarded to other suppliers in 1995. All three lots have a contract end date of 30 November 2001.

The information requested regarding costs of business allocated under the ACCORD contract is not available as it is commercially confidential.

Prior to September 2000 the Department was responsible for its own IT provision but also used a large number of private sector contracts. In 1995 the Department undertook a major rationalisation of its IT contracting approach resulting in the Focus 95 contracts under which responsibility for IT support and operations was outsourced.

A list of IT contracts current at the time of that outsourcing (October 1995) has been placed in the Library. This list gives contractor names and contract periods but it is not possible to give contract values nor is it possible to provide details prior to 1995. This information could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

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