back to article UK awards Fujitsu $60m contract amid calls to suspend it from government work

UK government has awarded Fujitsu a £52 million (c $60 million) contract in the same week political leaders called for all local deals with the company to be stopped while it is in the dock over the Post Office Horizon scandal. During the ongoing second phase of a public enquiry into the scandal, which saw 900 subpostmasters …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    NPfIT

    Did we ever find out how much money Fujitsu screwed out of the NHS for being kicked off the NPfIT project?

    1. steviebuk Silver badge

      Re: NPfIT

      If its the same project I'm thinking of then that was partly the NHS to blame by the people I spoke to. Contract was signed then a month later in their "meetings" a new NHS project manager would appear wanted extras added. Same the next month and so on. Until Fujitsu said "You can't keep adding to the project once you've agreed to the contract." Eventually got fed up and pulled out. Thats what I was told anyway.

      But they should never be given any contracts ever again for the Post Office scandal. For claiming there were no bugs at all in their software. People died and went to prison for their bullshit.

      Someone is still getting brown envelopes I bet.

  2. The BigYin

    The exec of Fujitsu and the PO should be in jail

    Per title.

    Really not much more to say on the matter.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The exec of Fujitsu and the PO should be in jail

      I don't want to comment about where the CEO of Fujitsu should be, but I feel it's relevant to re-post the statement made by Baroness Hayter in the House of Lords (the "other place" mentioned in the article), to remind readers where one of their former CEOs is:

      "Michael Keegan was Fujitsu’s chief executive when the company was telling the Post Office that Horizon was fine and when its staff were even appearing in court as prosecution witnesses against the sub-postmasters. He does not appear to have suffered any penalty and indeed is now a Crown representative at the Cabinet Office, where he oversees the Government’s relationships with suppliers."

      (taken from the Wikipedia page for his spouse Gillian Keegan, the current Secretary of State for Education under Sunak. She was also a junior minister under Truss and Johnson.)

      1. VoiceOfTruth

        Re: The exec of Fujitsu and the PO should be in jail

        They are all in it together.

        1. Lon24

          Re: The exec of Fujitsu and the PO should be in jail

          Sadly success today means the better salesperson rather than coder secures the business. But wasn't the true horror of this shambles due to the PO directing its fire on its own innocent people rather than the errant supplier?

          1. VoiceOfTruth

            Re: The exec of Fujitsu and the PO should be in jail

            -> the PO directing its fire on its own innocent people

            Agreed. Mostly. But when you buy in a service you may not have the knowledge or expertise to question what the supplier says. If the supplier says so and so stole some money (in general terms), you would firstly have to be able to query it, and secondly want to query it. What the PO did was indeed shameful.

    2. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

      Re: The exec of Fujitsu and the PO should be in jail

      It's very unlikely the CEO of Fujitsu did more than trust his employees - some rather more junior execs should be facing criminal charges. The PO bosses, on the other hand, definitely told deliberate lies and ought to be prosecuted.

      Ultimately, though, that would need the police to do some work, and they prefer sitting around eating doughnuts.

  3. BebopWeBop
    Devil

    Follow the money

    Quick question - someone might know, I haven't looked properly - it seems to be a difficult thing to find out..

    How many ex-MPs or ex-Civil Servants have jobs at Fujitsu?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Follow the money

      You're barking up the wrong tree here young one - "Fujitsu" in this context means the remnants of ICL and/or EDS picked off in the early 2000s. These aren't new contract awards going to some revolving-door consulting beast. They're the remnants of projects started in the 1950s, 60s and 70s that are being awarded on a no-bid basis because no other bugger will bid for them. There's no budget for enhancement or change or progression of the people working on it. Nothing more than keep the lights on and patch any leaks and try not to put anyone in prison. This bit of Fujitsu is a dead end company doing dead end work.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Follow the money

      By "Civil Servants" I assume that you mean senior Whitehall types. There aren't many of those, Fujitsu preferred to schmooze politicians directly when I was with them.

      Further down the tree there are many ex-Civil Servants in technical roles who were privatised in the 1990s to EDS and then hoovered up by Fujitsu along with the contract when EDS left the field. Some of these ex-Civil Servants did move into executive roles, but very few made it to the boardroom (the only one I knew who did wasn't involved with Horizon or NPfIT, he was competent and honourable and wound up in Tokyo).

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    We shouldn't be arbitrarily blocking contracts for companies that have been up to no good.

    We should be prosecuting their directors and putting them in prison.

  5. adam 40 Silver badge
    Big Brother

    Keep the failings secret and you'll be fine

    It seems that the Horizon bugs were kept secret by Fujitsu, and the threat of prosecution for perjury by giving false evidence against postmasters in criminal court (not just civil) was therefore infinitesimal.

    I have seen similar secrecy, for example when trying to prove there was a leap year bug in the data interchange between HMRC and Companies House. Any FoI question that got close to revealing anything of use was rebutted as being spurious, too difficult to answer, commercial (!) etc. For example, asking for a list of bug reports relating to leap year (Feb 29th) processing. A decent programmer could query a bug report database in seconds.

    If you find yourself on the wrong end of "Govt Computer say No", just watch it!

  6. Terry 6 Silver badge

    Failing/Falling upwards

    Maybe this is another example,. maybe not. But at the top echelons it does seem that individuals and companies can only fail upwards. It doesn't matter how poorly they do, how egregious the behaviour, there's always another top job for them.

    1. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
      Black Helicopters

      Re: Failing/Falling upwards

      The reason is usually because they have a proven track record* of being in top jobs therefore they are fully qualified to be in this top job.

      Anything else is hearsay and unproven allegations.

      And here, take this brown envelope and be quiet.

      *and if they actually cared about the track record, they'd never let these people anywhere near a top job.....

      1. Terry 6 Silver badge

        Re: Failing/Falling upwards

        Upvote for proven track record. But I'd guess it was less about brown envelopes and more about buddy systems (in the UK) All going to the same public (that's private to the Americans) schools, living in the same gated suburban estates, playing golf etc. AKA "People like us"

    2. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

      Re: Failing/Falling upwards

      It's more that the government contracts are always a load of shite that is guaranteed to fail, and the companies that will take them on despite that are few and far between.

      Fujitsu and the PO is a bit of an unusual case, because in almost all other cases it's the government setting things up so they will fail. The real problem is that we tolerate politicians presiding over incompetent procurement.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Failing/Falling upwards

        "it's the government setting things up so they will fail."

        Surely that requires competence.

        "politicians presiding over incompetent procurement.

        Being incompetent belies planning for and succeeding in an outcome.

        1. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

          Re: Failing/Falling upwards

          "Surely that requires competence."

          I didn't mean they're doing it on purpose. I've worked on a contract like this, and they were simply unable to comprehend common-sense issues like 'that has nothing to do with this project' or 'that will involve restarting something that is 90% complete'.

          1. Terry 6 Silver badge

            Re: Failing/Falling upwards

            In my experience of some of this stuff the inverse is also true. The big hats and the consultants will refuse to acknowledge any number of small, but important details during the planning meetings- especially if these points are raised by anyone actually working on the frontline.

            Have you allocated storage space within the the play area for the play equipment? for example, will be fobbed off with a mixture of "We mustn't impinge on the integrity of the area, because it has also got to be used for {some kind of trendy activity that is far less significant but they're committed to providing it} and "We'll find a location for the play equipment". Which if it is even actually done, will be three floors above the play area, at the end of a long corridor with a sharp right turn just above the stairwell.

            Or they'll amend the agreed plans by changing something that they don't see as significant. Oh yes we've taken out the floor to ceiling cupboard space. . Leaving users nowhere to store some valuable delicate equipment that needs to be well above the kids' height.

            And so on.

            1. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

              Re: Failing/Falling upwards

              I don't think that's the inverse; more like further examples of the same thing. This stuff then needs fixing later at extra cost.

              1. Terry 6 Silver badge

                Re: Failing/Falling upwards

                I guess the projects I've been involved with/suffered are different in that there will be no fixing at a later date. The stuff that we will have pointed out needing to be done during the set up just won't ever get done.

                A classic example- a new authority wide contract for super-duper photocopiers that also had the potential to be networked. Which was something we pointed out needed to be done. And they said it would be,

                Copier arrived and I was told that the networking would be done in the near future. Two years later and lots of nagging later- still not done.

                Year three and the new Central IT guy got onto it for me. And found that the machine had no network card! It had never been included. Someone in an office somewhere had decided that we didn't need one and they could save a couple of quid - having apparently failed to understand that teams of advisory teachers did a lot of printing; Reports, guidance documents, training materials, teaching packs and so on and so on. They seem to have thought that teachers just turn up at 9:00 AM and talk for 7 hours or so. Of course by then it was too late to get the card put in, the contract was ending. In the meantime we were sending our documents to a bunch of inkjet printers that drank ink.

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