back to article Fujitsu bags £142M UK government work since Horizon probe announced

The UK Post Office’s latest decision to extend Fujitsu’s controversial £2.3 billion Horizon contract follows the award of £142 million in wider government work to the Japanese supplier since the statutory inquiry into the disastrous project was first announced. Earlier this month, the Post Office awarded a £16.5 million …

  1. ScottishYorkshireMan

    Shares anyone?

    So, which Tory spivs hold Fujitsu shares then?

    1. wolfetone Silver badge

      Re: Shares anyone?

      You do really have to start to question who is benefiting from these deals. For once I don't think it's all Tory related, but there are people entrenched in the establishment that are benefiting from these deals, and sadly I don't think we'll ever find out who.

    2. gerryg

      Re: Shares anyone?

      While I'm sure the "right" answer is important to you these contract are awarded by civil servants and the Post Office is a private company.

      I doubt it is possible to for a government to ban Fujitsu but without a doubt the real difficulty is that once any organisation fails to (a) consider the importance of interoperability and (b) fail to ask the question "and how do I get rid of you lot?" (to reframe Tony Benn's quote about democratic processes) the only way forward is carry ob with who you have got or a clone. The case study of d'addario strings' decison to rip out (in this case) Microsoft and go FOSS is as rare as it is instructive. They were stung by a licensing audit for software they were not even using and wanted at any cost to be rid of the shackle.

      Horizon, as Private Eye reported for many years, was shameful. Failure to consider (a) and (b) above makes the disruption caused by ripping it out inconceivable. That's the real cost of these projects. It's true of all these deeply embedded outsourcers, especially once they have sold in their various secret sauces.

      You should direct your ire and vitriol towards those at the operational level who took the decisions back in the day, after suitable technical visits to nice parts of the world provided by any of the usual suspects and other soft (or less soft) corruption.

      1. Headley_Grange Silver badge

        Re: Shares anyone?

        It would be difficult to ban them but might not be impossible. The tender pre-qualification process for large contracts is used to ensure that only companies which have a chance of winning are allowed to tender. Technical, organizational and financial assessments form part of the pre-qual. process and it's not unusual to have clauses about convictions, outstanding legal/regulatory compliance issues, bringing the client into disrepute, and so on. A suitably motivated lawyer could word this to ensure that Fujitsu weren't allowed to tender for anything at least until all inquiries and legal actions were complete.

      2. TitterYeNot

        Re: Shares anyone?

        and the Post Office is a private company

        Not disagreeing with your post, but it should be pointed out that Post Office Ltd. is not privately owned, it's owned by the UK government (specifically, its shareholder is the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy.)

        I guess this is why we as taxpayers will end up paying the compensation for this fiasco, which I'm absolutely fine with, as long as all the fuckers at Fujitsu and the Post Office (Post Office Counters Ltd. at the time I believe) who are responsible for this serve at least 5 years in the clink and are also barred from working in or on any public services for life.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Shares anyone?

      The husband of Gillian Keegan (Education Secretary) might. His name is Michael Keegan, and he's a former CEO of Fujitsu UK & Ireland. He's currently a Crown Representative at the Cabinet Office.

    4. David 53

      Re: Shares anyone?

      Gill Keegan MP is the wife of Michael Keegan as Head of UK & Ireland for Fujitsu. Share holdings are listed - https://www.fujitsu.com/global/about/ir/faq/stock/#anc-06

  2. alain williams Silver badge

    "We can't undo the damage that has been done."

    Errrm: yes, it is easy. Compensate those who's lives were wrecked so that they are put into the financial positions that they would have been if this had not happened.

    Then: look at damage due to anguish, etc, caused and thoroughly compensate them (and their kids, etc) for that.

    The trouble with this is that there are many, many postmasters, etc, who were effected and so many in government have decided that compensation is "not affordable", so just say some fine words, theatrically wring hands and delay until most of them are dead or burned out.

    How many of those who knew, or should have known but looked the other way, have been brought to book ?

    1. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: "We can't undo the damage that has been done."

      The UK government can award the contract and then pay invoices due as compensation to the Horizon victims. Ie. Effectively the same as forced payroll deductions for child maintenance etc.

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: "We can't undo the damage that has been done."

      The trouble with this is that there are many, many postmasters, etc, who were eaffected and so many in government have decided that compensation is "not affordable", so just say some fine words, theatrically wring hands and delay until most of them are dead or burned out.

      Have they? Why should the government decide what is and isn't affordable for Fujitsu? It should be a simple decision for Fujitsu - if they want more government business then they have to be able to afford it, including compound interest.

      1. gerryg

        Re: "We can't undo the damage that has been done."

        The government seems to have created a new compensation scheme, recognising the shortcomings of the original scheme

        https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-compensation-scheme-opens-for-postmasters-who-exposed-horizon-scandal

    3. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
      Flame

      Re: "We can't undo the damage that has been done."

      Quote

      "How many of those who knew, or should have known but looked the other way, have been brought to book ?"

      This is the most galling thing to me, that people lied in court (or to victims defence lawyers) about horizons, and they KNEW horizons was crap, yet they said horizons data was 100% reliable.

      And it wasn't in a mistaken belief in horizons , it was to avoid questions such as "How many more?" "How much will it cost to fix?" and "How long will I be jailed for contempt?"

      And that fuckitso and post orafice managers were prepared to jail innocent people to protect themselves and their companies

      Give it another 5 years or so and the only people left who worked with horizons will be the junior staff, and one of those will be thrown under a bus as a token action while the senior execs walk off into the sunset with large golden handshakes instead into jail wearing a pair of handcuffs.

      PS. I work for an aerospace manufacturer...... if we tried anything like fuckitso/PO tried and were found out , we'd be slow roasted over a hot fire within 5 mins ...... and thats before lawyers got involved

      1. Dunstan Vavasour

        Re: "We can't undo the damage that has been done."

        I've written to my MP about this several times. At its core, the Horizon scandal wasn't about mistakes, it was about wrongdoing. It was about Fujitsu management being told by their development teams "Yes, this could happen" and then swearing on oath that it couldn't.

        Miscarriages of justice work both ways: getting away with flagrant wrongdoing, whether at an individual or corporate level, is as obnoxious as banging up an innocent person.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "We can't undo the damage that has been done."

      “At the time, junior business minister Paul Scully said: "The Horizon saga has wrecked lives and livelihoods. We can't undo the damage that has been done. But we can establish what went wrong with the Post Office and ensure something like this is never allowed to happen again."”

      Yes - swift compensation, and jail time for those culpable at Fujitsu and the Post Office - esp. those guilty of malicious prosecution and Directors running it.

    5. John G Imrie

      Re: "We can't undo the damage that has been done."

      They could strip the Post Office of it's right to bring private prosecutions.

    6. Santa from Exeter

      Re: "We can't undo the damage that has been done."

      Erm, no, it isn't easy.

      How do you compensate for those who took their own lives because of this?

      1. NeilPost Silver badge

        Re: "We can't undo the damage that has been done."

        Give their families a big pile of money comes to mind.

        … otherwise argue that reparations for prior Slavery should not happen ‘as they are dead’. Good luck with that one.

  3. Doogie Howser MD

    More often than not I think the status quo is kept because Fujitsu are too big to fail. Yeah, it would be great if the work was given out to a "proper" UK company with a specific focus on these types of projects, but they often lack the financial wherewithal to weather any kind of legal storms. Sad but true.

    I'm not defending any current politicians, but if Wikipedia can be relied upon for facts, the genesis of this project was in 1996, so many politicians of all stripes have had the opportunity to bask in the warm glow of a stuffed brown envelope or two along the way.

  4. Trotts36

    A curse

    On the house of Fujitsu.

    To be responsible for suicides due to your incompetence and have the front to still believe you deserve to supply… unbelievable

  5. dinsdale54

    Don't forget the Horizon bit of Fujitsu is ICL as was. You would have to travel a long way to find a more useless bunch of fuckwits still operating.

    My guess is that there are a bunch of entrenched systems that only they have the people to manage/develop and therefore they are still winning business.

    1. Trotts36

      Bodies

      I can only guess they know where the bodies are buried.. hence the leverage they have

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "You would have to travel a long way to find a more useless bunch of fuckwits still operating"

      Not really. Just a couple of letters (and they are next to one another in the alphabet).... IBM.

    3. NeilPost Silver badge

      .. running on a VME on a 2900 Mainframe then.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        VME is a very fine, stable, efficient and usable operating system that still supports many applications to this day, but Horizon was not developed on VME.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Oooh a trip down memory lane for me.

        First job was as an operator on an ICL 2966. I could tell when it was crashing just by listening to the hoot (which also used to sound like R2-D2 when running OLTS).

        Fun times.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The corruption in these contracts is usually more banal than people imagine

    Most of the problems with these big government IT projects are that there are massive amounts of politics with multiple public sector layers having different goals, some of which include ultimate failure of any project which would bring efficiency (job cuts) or transparency (oversight) into their domains.

    Obviously the public sector can’t be seen to want its own projects to fail, nor can it be seen to be incompetent, and so there is an agreement with the larger IT integrators that they will take all the blame and reputational damage (notice how they never sue or brief against the story in any public sector project failure) in exchange for a) being paid fully and on time and b) getting more work in the next round of projects.

    It’s win win for the parties involved while the public who loses only has the power to rant on message boards about the incompetence of this or that IT giant whose private sector projects mysteriously seem to be delivered with a much higher success rate.

  7. Korev Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Thank you

    Thank you for publishing this.

    Stories like these are the reason why we need UK IT media and why it's so sad that El Reg is now essentially American.

    1. Zippy´s Sausage Factory

      Re: Thank you

      Horizon was extensively covered in Private Eye though, I seem to remember a few years for a while it seemed like they'd run at least one article about it every issue.

      1. Korev Silver badge

        Re: Thank you

        PCPro also did some good work on the false paedophila allegations a few years ago, I don't know if they still do this kind of investigative journalism or not.*

        * I used to subscribe to both magazines when I lived in the UK, but stopped after international postage costs started to get stupid

  8. Bloodbeastterror

    Jail...

    Why has nobody gone to prison for this Horizon outrage, in Fujitsu or the Post Office? Why are these criminals allowed to continue their lives untouched when so many have suffered directly because of their criminal behaviour?

    1. Potemkine! Silver badge

      Re: Jail...

      Because jail is for the little people. The higher is your position in the society, the less you are concerned about the laws. And if you are high enough, you're untouchable.

      (The exception is when you scammed or hurt people higher than you in the hierarchy)

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If people want to stop Fujitsu then one place to start is with your own behaviour. Do you work for or with them? I wont deal with FJ at all in any way, and I've made it clear when I join a company that I simple will not deal with them. I've taken that stance since they lied their way though the Great Hard Drive Fiasco twenty years ago, but the Horizons stuff is just the icing on the cake. I wont even assist servicing the aircon that these shysters make, let alone deal with services or tin they provide.

    Do you get any of your data processed by FJ during the course of your life? Every time you do, Subject Access requests - and make it clear that you want to verify that the data is correct because of FJ known track record for covering up and lying through their teeth. Dont make the request to FJ - do it to the people who engaged FJ services. If it's a govt service using FJ complain to everyone, local councillors, MP's, everyone.

    Oh and if you get invited to an interview, then tell the recuiter exactly why you are declining it. At length.

    If they are frozen out and made a pariah, then eventually things will change.

  10. You Started It

    What the ...

    Un-f*cking-believable!

    Some people just don't learn and refuse to! I'm surprised Fujisu had the balls to apply!

  11. TRT Silver badge

    We really do believe...

    in second chances, don't we? And second chances at a second chance. And [++++TERMINATE++++INFINTITE LOOP++++]

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