back to article Fujitsu says UK Foreign Office can't count in lawsuit over loss of £350m comms contract

Fujitsu has accused the Foreign Office of being unable to count after mandarins awarded a £350m IT outsourcing contract to incumbent rival Vodafone. In court documents seen by The Register, Fujitsu has accused the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) of making "arithmetic errors and other manifest errors of assessment" when …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    £350 Million, eh? in yet another £350 million exaggeration shocker!!!

  2. cosymart
    Big Brother

    Up The Chain

    So nobody checked the figures, produced by the lowly assistant, as the responses went up the chain or should that be greasy pole?

    1. phuzz Silver badge

      Re: Up The Chain

      Lowly assistants are employed for blaming things on.

      Management, on the other hand, is employed for taking credit for things that haven't (yet) been cocked up.

      It's the circle of life.

  3. James 51

    I wonder if the Japanese prime minister sill bring this up during the next set of trade talks.

  4. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse

    Doesn't make sense...

    This doesn't make sense. Fujitsu are complaining about the scoring method, yet the FCO are seemingly responding by stating that Fujitsu's underlying technical response did not seem to satisfy the original tender requirements. If this is the case, then I would have expected the Fujitsu scoring profile to be a lot lower than simply a rounding error anyway???

    That, or what is more likely is that the FCO bods have fudged the RT process to favour VF, because changing the underlying supplier would have been a lot of hassle rather than simply just re-awarding it; and then they hoped that no-one would notice that that is what they had done.

    1. Dabooka

      Re: Doesn't make sense...

      Yep, that's my reading. Surely their technical argument about not adhering to the hybrid requirement they'd have been out of the running all along and a lot further down the pecking order than a measly 1% (rounded or not).

      Crooks the lot of them.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Doesn't make sense...

        Probably actually meeting the requirement has no scoring element. Seen that where for technical reasons the bid was none compliant but the scoring mechanism could still produce a score. Fortunately it was not the highest score which made life easier. Further the loosing bidder was not informed their bid was not compliant either.

        So in this case if the bid from Fujitsu was not technically compliant and the Vodafone one was then they don't have a leg to stand on. The Foreign Office is probably under no obligations to inform bidders their bid is not compliant either or they failed to tell their lawyers. So Fujitsu sue and prompty loose with costs awarded.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Doesn't make sense...

          The scoring methodology has to be published in the ITT to meet OJEU rules.

          In this case 60% of score went to meeting requirements (including contract compliance), 40% went on pricing. With 6 bidders it is entirely feasible that Fujitsu could have had the second best technical score (maybe BT was better?) and the second best price (it is likely that Vodafone as incumbent had the lowest price, and the greatest desire to write down margin to keep the business) and yet get the best overall score. (Think this way, two Queens beats a King and a deuce, or a five and an Ace!)

          The whole purpose of the open process is that every bidder can take a view of their strengths or weaknesses and balance the response to their best position.

          Winning by 0.01 of a point is OK, but the fact that this result is in the decimal places makes adherence to process absolutely critical, even small errors of process (as admitted by the FCO) throw the result into doubt.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wasn't fujistu blacklisted from bidding on UK Govt projects ? When did that get overturned ?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Wasn't fujistu blacklisted.....

      Yes, but no idea what happened, and they appear to be winning every contract out that comes up now.

      Having had t deal with Fujitsu Defence and Fujitsu Global Connectivity (there are loads of Fujitsu branches) I don't see how they are winning all the contracts aside coming in cheap. I have many friends working for then in Basingstoke, Bracknell and London and they do have so great staff, but I will stick my neck out and say they do have more then their fair share of unskilled staff in positions they have no experience or interest in. I know they aren't the best when it comes to pay, that probably doesn't help.

      Given this post, the £700m from the NHS recently reported and the Global Connectivity project which is also massively over budget and behind time, it is a wonder how they are winning all this work.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Wasn't fujistu blacklisted.....

        "Fujitsu Defence and Fujitsu Global Connectivity (there are loads of Fujitsu branches)"

        These are divisions within the same company in fairness...

        "I don't see how they are winning all the contracts aside coming in cheap"

        There may be some wins in the defence arena but clearly didn't win this FCO bid & not aware of winning much if any new business in other government depts, most existing public sector contracts are in exit phase

    2. Medical Cynic

      They certainly b*ggered up the PACS contract a decade ago, and the Lorenzo records later on.

  6. michaelvirks
    Paris Hilton

    One of the best ways to secure future business is to sue your potential customers. That's just common sense.

    1. JimC

      > best ways to secure future business is to sue your potential customers.

      Oddly, when I've been involved in tendering exercises, "has never sued us" has not been a compliance item, so having done so wouldn't disqualify. Procurement rules don't permit you to eliminate tender on those grounds, as indeed they prohibit you from disqualifying someone on the ground that they are a bunch of useless idiots you wouldn't trust to organise a p**** up in a brewery.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Fujitsu's lawyers, Baker & McKenzie LLP & FCO lawyers from London law firm Dentons

    are having a jolly good time indeed

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Remember De La Rue and the red passports?

    What's the probability that Vodafone had the lowest price? [Incumbent. Would write off of a current customer. Avoid TUPE transfer costs. Duh?]

    Certainty that Vodafone has the lowest hassle / risk [as already pointed out]

    What's the probability that the government wanted to avoid a repeat of headlines about a foreign company winning the bid with a higher price [even though the FCO set the scoring rules themselves?]

    And when it gets tough, we can blame it on Europe with it's ridiculously liberal, namby-pamby, open and fair bid process.

    Roll on Hard Brexit where we can ban foreigners from bidding...

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Too close to call!

    if the bids were that close, then common sense should suggest that the incumbent retains the business to avoid the inevitable disruption that would arise from changing out all those circuits. Still, rules are rules, and where would we be without rules? (France, obviously)

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