back to article Fujitsu will not bid for UK.gov business until Post Office inquiry closes

Fujitsu has written to UK Government to confirm it will no longer tender for business in the public sector amid the ongoing inquiry into the Post Office scandal – weeks after winning a £485 million ($614 million) contract. Despite the supplier of the controversial Post Office Horizon system being scrutinized in Britain like …

  1. Pascal Monett Silver badge
    Mushroom

    "We welcome Fujitsu's decision to pause bidding"

    Because we are totally incapable of not making them win the bid on our own.

    1. awavey

      Re: "We welcome Fujitsu's decision to pause bidding"

      Technically the bid for tender rules used in government contracts couldnt preclude them, the we dont like you anymore because that ITV show upset the public, isnt going to stand up in court as a valid excuse and would be wide open to legal challenge

      and youd get into messiness with people then accusing the government of favourtism picking other vendors if the criteria isn't applied to all and the brother in laws mums uncles housekeeper of the person making the decision happened to work for the other vendor who got the contract.

      1. Jonathon Green

        Re: "We welcome Fujitsu's decision to pause bidding"

        In spite of the fact that (lamentably) it took a TV show to raise the profile of this mess to a point that even the government had to take notice that wouldn’t be why they were precluding Fujitsu from bidding.

        It would be because they were suspended from bidding while investigations took place into a massive failure of governance, and because an unknowable number of staff were party to a conspiracy to commit perjury on an industrial scale. Which I think probably would stand a decent chance in court…

      2. elsergiovolador Silver badge

        Re: "We welcome Fujitsu's decision to pause bidding"

        Technically the bid for tender rules used in government contracts couldnt preclude them

        Are you sure?

        https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2015/102/regulation/57/made

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: "We welcome Fujitsu's decision to pause bidding"

          Paragraph 8c appears to fit the case.

          1. Dan 55 Silver badge

            Re: "We welcome Fujitsu's decision to pause bidding"

            UK officials tried to block Fujitsu from government contracts in 2010s or archive link.

            The Government tried in 2010-2015 but Government lawyers advised it was not possible to exclude based on past performance, although to my untrained eye paragraph 8g seems to fit that case like a glove.

            Then after 2015, i.e. under the reign of Cameron II and beyond, there is no record of government efforts to not award contracts to Fujitsu, oddly enough.

            1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

              Re: "We welcome Fujitsu's decision to pause bidding"

              Then after 2015, i.e. under the reign of Cameron II and beyond, there is no record of government efforts to not award contracts to Fujitsu, oddly enough.

              It couldn't possibly have anything to do with this:

              Post Office: Tory-donating Fujitsu director was rewarded with government job

              1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
                Joke

                Re: "We welcome Fujitsu's decision to pause bidding"

                Damn, there goes my cushy 1 day a week consultancy after Westminster

                (no, not me personally, but, please send answers on a postcard to the the relevant commissioner in Westminster)

      3. I Am Spartacus
        Mushroom

        Re: "We welcome Fujitsu's decision to pause bidding"

        Hold on their Tiger.

        Fujitsu bid against others for the Post Office Horizon contract. Reports are that they came very well down the scoring matrix, scoring just 7/10 as likely to succeed. And yet they STILL won the bid. Because they were the cheapest.

        Not looking so cheap now, though, is it.

        As I kept saying when looking at IT contract bids, its not the original bid price, its the TCO that counts.

        1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
          Mushroom

          Re: "We welcome Fujitsu's decision to pause bidding"

          And yet they STILL won the bid. Because they were the cheapest.

          Not looking so cheap now, though, is it.

          That is roughly where we are at with the current government in Westminster - The Conservatives, who keep banging on about them being the party of low taxation and small government...

          No, not looking so cheap now

      4. anthonyhegedus Silver badge

        Re: "We welcome Fujitsu's decision to pause bidding"

        I'm sure the government could just change the law to save face. They've done it before. Like last week.

  2. Ochib

    Don't forget this is New Business, It says nothing about bidding for a renewal of contracts it already has

    1. James Anderson

      Precisely! When you have been trapped into a system that has been cobbled together by a money grubbing outsourcing company over a period of twenty years you have no choice but to renew the contract. No one else understands or wants the to look after these neglected systems.

      1. abend0c4 Silver badge

        I'm afraid the government is equally culpable - they were desperate not only that there would be continued support for their estate of ICL mainframes but that they could point to a continuing "high-tech" sector in the UK economy, of which ICL had been a prominent component. They were also hoping to prop up the Post Office network by making benefit payments through them - this was a chunk of Horizon that got dumped early on in favour of direct payments into bank accounts.

        Instead of facing the issues head on, there was a tacit system of nods and winks that were designed to obscure the real agenda, leading inevitably to the present situation. The miracle is that it's taken so long to come to light.

  3. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge
    Unhappy

    It's a small pool of companies that go after these government contracts. Fujitsu's withdrawal will just mean more business going to Capita or Serco, tant pis.

    1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

      That in itself should pick interest of CMA and SFO (how Conservative government has created uneven playing field, so only business beyond certain size can participate in the market), but I guess it's not headline grabbing and glamorous enough for them.

      1. Robert Grant

        How did they change things from how they were before?

        1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

          By modifying IR35 so that small business can't participate in the tenders (or consortia) and opening the immigration taps, so big consultancies can import developers en masse pay them close to minimum wage and pocket massive profit enjoying exemption from IR35.

  4. elsergiovolador Silver badge

    Fushitesu

    All existing contracts with Fushitesu should be audited with a fine tooth comb.

    Especially at HMRC.

    1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

      Re: Fushitesu

      Why downvotes?

      HMRC’s National Insurance and PAYE service has transitioned to a virtual estate,

      consolidating onto one 7.5TB database running on the Fujitsu private cloud platform.

      Taxpayers could face deadline ‘chaos’ after HMRC hit by Fujitsu strikes

      and so on.

      In my case HMRC notoriously calculates wrong tax and "borrows" thousands of pounds each year. Multiply that by number of tax payers and it's serious money.

      Surely their systems are probably as bad as Horizon if not worse if they can't do such a basic thing like assign correct tax code.

    2. Tim 11

      Re: Fushitesu

      I'm not defending fijustu for a minute but let's not forget it's not fujistu that wdongly sued and imprisoned innocent people - it was the government that did that.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    An aside

    I have had two approaches about working for Fujitsu via LinkedIn this week. Must be fun working as a recruiter for Fujitsu at the moment.

    1. Jonathon Green

      Re: An aside

      Probably even more fun being a candidate with Fujitsu on your CV…

      1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

        Re: An aside

        Well, wouldn't a candidate be a master of editing / "fixing" their CV?

        I'll get my coat.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: An aside

          Replace your time at Fujitsu with something like:

          2011-2014, HMPS, Long Lartin, Worcestershire. Following conviction for robbery and ABH, I was appointed as Inmate 36546421 on D Wing, responsible for cleaning my cell, and sharing the slopping out rota. I developed colleagues skills in IT security, penetration testing, and anonymous financial transactions, and built my own skills in lock picking, fashioning weapons in the workshops, correct use of shivs, and antagonising warders. I am now fully reformed, and have reflected on my early poor career choices.

        2. TimMaher Silver badge
          Coat

          Re: I’ll get my coat.

          FTFY ———>

      2. donk1

        Re: An aside

        Well yes how does this reflect on those of us with Fijitsu on their CV?

        Have we not had our professional reputation damaged by this?

  6. h3nb45h3r

    Food for thought

    Aside it says new business (not renewal of the multitude of existing contracts), am I cynical in suggesting the really big contracts rarely get decide or awarded in a General Election year?

  7. excperr

    not so strange...

    Are we living in the upside down - again?

  8. Martin Gregorie

    Why Fujitsu

    I'm finally realizing that I don't know why and how ICL got flogged off to Fujitsu. IIRC it was apparently doing all right, the second generation 2900s were in pretty good shape and kit such as the 1903/4 small office environment' systems stood head and shoulders above IBM's equivalent System/3 kit.

    Lastly, having programmed both ICL 2900 and IBM AS/400 systems, I thought both were very similar in capabilities: even their operating systems were equally nice.

    Or did I miss something?

    1. Admiral Grace Hopper

      Re: Why Fujitsu

      The ICL mainframes were very nice to work on indeed, designed and developed by people who knew what they were doing.

      The ICL Wikipedia entry is quite good on the corporate history without delving into the in-fighting that went along with the various shenanigans, but there are colourful accounts from combatants in that internecine war to found on the internet.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Why Fujitsu

      As I recall from my observations and conversations with others when I was working for them.

      At the time ICL had the design capability but lacked silicon fabrication capability, for their (at the time) proprietary CPU's and hardware in the mainframes and smaller DRS and System 25 dept systems.

      Outside of the UK they managed to get Mainframe and Dept systems into some places in Europe and Commonwealth countries but Big Blue was dominating the business.

      Fujitsu were invited to invest, initially 50% of the shareholding, when business wasn't going so good and gradually the business moved from custom small system CPU's to SPARC which Fujitsu were into.

      Fujitsu continued to supply the custom mainframe silicon, but small systems came more into line with Fujitsu products and of course X86 as PC's took off.

      Lot more to it with multiple smaller companies being absorbed in office and retail systems but basically Fujitsu was the far bigger player that wanted to take over ICL's customer base.

  9. Tron Silver badge

    A few points.

    The tech was flawed - most is. If the PO had gone back to Fujitsu (who were buying/had bought ICL at this time) they would have attempted a fix. But they didn't. They just insisted it was fine and persecuted their own staff for years, whilst lying about it. That's not the PO as an entity or the PO staff today, but the PO staff who did the lying and persecution then - the ones who should now be imprisoned for the lives they wrecked.

    Many government projects only have one tender. Without Fujitsu, some now won't have any. And however bad modern tech outsourcers are, most of Fujitsu's staff will have changed from when this was going on. So it's like punishing someone for what their parents did (which happens sometimes in Japan, culturally), or someone who lives in a house that a previous tenant committed crimes in. Which (by our standards) is daft.

    Each and every one of the INDIVIDUALS responsible for this should be punished, and that includes those in the judicial system that declared innocent people to be guilty.

    1. Evil Auditor Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: A few points.

      Unless Fujitsu meddled with Horizon without involving PO, I don't really see how they can be held responsible. Unless, of course, the investigation takes place in a banana republic...

    2. Pete Sdev Bronze badge

      Re: A few points.

      One of the Post Office investigators involved *still* works for the Post Office....

      Though I agree with your sentiment that individuals should be held responsible. Very unlikely yo happen unfortunately.

  10. Pete Sdev Bronze badge
    WTF?

    From yesterday's inquiry session

    I am surprised that that detail was not included in the witness statements given by Fujitsu staff to the Post Office and I have seen some evidence of editing witness statements by others.

    So apparently some people from Fujitsu attempted to make at least slightly more balanced statements but these were edited by the Post Office before reaching court.

  11. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

    Mr Fox

    In other news, Mr Fox has said that he won't be going anywhere near the Hen House for a day or so after his visit last night

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "weeks after winning a £485 million ($614 million) contract."

    Naturally. Not before and now they've work for years to come and that contract will eventually cost triple what was promised. Blatant thieves.

  13. b1k3rdude

    "They will not bid", huh?

    How about they are never fucking allowed to work in the UK or on any contract, every again, for any reason.

    These cn*ts are are the worst kind of liers, they ruined peoples lives, falsely accused 100s of individials and and were complicit in one of the biggest misscarigages of just this counrty has seen in a long time.

    NO, Fujitsu need to fc*k and do one, and all the senior managers & emplyees involved need to face prosecution and imprisonment.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Vultures?

    Rarely have I seen so many Turkeys calling for Christmas!

    Assuming the majority of the commentards on this subject have some connection with IT and claim some level of competence, I am incredulous that they cannot see that this scandal has ramifications for the industry as a whole.

    ALL software has bugs, period.

    If Fujitsu are actually found to have acted illegally, ANY and ALL software/hardware from ANY vendor performing any value transaction is up for intense scrutiny by people of ignorance in the court of public opinion.

    If these forums are representative of supposedly competent opinion then deity help you all in the event that Fujitsu take an unwarranted hit for this issue and it's deeply unfortunate outcome.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Vultures?

      Oh, I welcome it.

      Perhaps then the software profession will stop making software out of balsa wood.

      Perhaps then bugs will have to be fixed instead of being left unfixed for 25 years.

      Imagine the law is changed so there is no presumption that computer systems work correctly unless proven otherwise. This has ramifications for the client, the consultancy, and the project.

      The project might start implementing best practices, deadlines might be actually take into account reality, developers will have to professionalise, and it will be possible to push back against constant feature creep with immovable deadlines.

      "people of ignorance in the court of public opinion" - since when does anyone have the right to write or force software to be used which ruins lives?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Vultures?

        Noble and commendable points.

        Show me another large ongoing project that couldn't be said to have similar issues, bear in mind everybody is entitled to an opinion of course, however qualified in the subject matter.

        However, if your utopia logic actually works and Nirvana actually arrives

        IF ( this may happen) THEN (this MIGHT happen)

        You still can't get away from all software has bugs, period.

        No one should have the right to force software to be used to ruin lives. What appears to be clear to some but not to others is that the 'forcing' was being done by the client.

        1. andy 103
          WTF?

          Re: Vultures?

          What a ridiculous comment.

          It ignores a very basic fact that not all software is equal or has anything like the same range of implications if it "goes wrong".

          As as an example, many years ago, I worked at a web agency where somebody made a mess of some code which essentially provided free shipping to customers of an ecommerce website. As in the owner of that business didn't get paid for shipping after they had shipped products. It was noticed within about a month and had cost in the range of low £1000s.

          That incident was dealt with as an insurance claim and nobody killed themselves over it. Yet it did quite noticeably impact several people.

          It was reasonably serious but in no way comparable to the magnitude of what happened with Horizon. The sheer number of people affected directly and indirectly by it is of a scale where it's quite right it is being treated with the level of seriousness we are seeing.

          There's a big difference between software bugs in say a Wordpress website to those in a flight computer. They're still classed as bugs but the ramifications are significantly different. The level of investigation should be proportionate.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Vultures?

            In your rush to dismiss you haven't been clear in what part or if it's all you consider ridiculous.

            'It ignores a very basic fact that not all software is equal or has anything like the same range of implications if it "goes wrong".'

            I don't think it does. I specifically stated 'value transactions' . That in my opinion would exclude a presentation issue in a WordPress website however if it affected any website based commerce then that's a different story.

            Nobody is disputing the level of investigation, well I am certainly not and there is absolutely nothing in my comment to suggest that's the case.

            What I am suggesting is that the investigation should run it's course and until it has, competent people should try to look ahead at the implications instead of blamestorming on incomplete evidence.

            1. andy 103
              Facepalm

              Re: Vultures?

              I specifically stated 'value transactions' . That in my opinion would exclude a presentation issue

              Not really sure where you've got a "presentation issue" from. To go back to your point on "value transactions" that is exactly what happened in the case of the website I referred to. The actual issue was that customers were charged £0 for shipping because some buggy code omitted the shipping value when calculating the order total.

              The transaction therefore had an incorrect (lower) value meaning the business wasn't being paid enough for orders.

              However, in this case it affected 1 business to the tune of a relatively low (in the grand scheme of things) value of money, as I said in the thousands of pounds. That was covered by an insurance claim so the business owner wasn't out of pocket. Effectively it was then case closed. Nobody died, lost their livelihoods, etc. That's very different to Horizon.

              Both of these cases involve financial transactions and buggy code. The outcome and impact is extremely different though. That was my point.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Vultures?

                I would have thought 'presentation issue' associated with a website building site would be pretty much self explanatory.

                The direct comparison you initially made was between a website construction site and a flight computer.

                Then you repeat yourself but still don't clarify what in your opinion is ridiculous.

                1. andy 103

                  Re: Vultures?

                  ...but still don't clarify what in your opinion is ridiculous.

                  Ok to be clear this bit

                  ANY and ALL software/hardware from ANY vendor performing any value transaction is up for intense scrutiny by people of ignorance in the court of public opinion.

                  Is just nonsense. That clearly isn't going to happen in future, just as it doesn't happen now.

                  The only time anything will come under "intense scrutiny" is in cases such as Horizon, or as an example I used, the failure of say a buggy flight computer that leads to hundreds of deaths. On the other hand, a situation such as I'd described with an ecommerce website would never come under such scrutiny because the impact is relatively minor. Despite both of these being examples of software containing bugs.

                  So your assertion that "ANY and ALL software" is somehow going to be impacted by any of this is frankly a load of bollocks. You need to separate the impact of failures of software and how seriously that might get scrutinised.

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: Vultures?

                    'That clearly isn't going to happen in future, just as it doesn't happen now.'

                    It's a shame you didn't clarify your opinion earlier, instead of repeating your own words and changing your comparative examples.

                    Notably you then omit the end of my statement 'any value transaction' to miss quote me and intentionally widen the scope to bolster your new position.

                    The fact that this close scrutiny hasn't happened yet doesn't mean it won't happen. If a precedent is set then that is normally the general outcome, in my opinion.

                    I am sure that no one envisaged deaths arising from defective transactional software and a client who pursued their subcontractors on a contractual point but here we are.

                    Separating the impact appears to be less easy than you think.

  15. HKmk23

    Will not?

    Fujitsu should never be allowed to bid for a UK contract again!

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Will not?

      Leaving the impeccable IBM and Capita left to divide up the remaining contracts between them

      Unless Capita are blocked for the MoD recruitment fsck-up

      That would leave IBM as a monopoly and the trouble with monopoly government suppliers is that they don't need to offer bribes consultancy paymnets to get the business

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Will not?

        There is always CapGemini.

  16. Stuclark

    You know it's bad when even Crapita withdraw

    Lets face it, Crapita runs a significant number of schools IT in the UK, especially the schools' information management system (SIMS).

    Putting it politely, SIMS hasn't got the best reputation in the world - especially when it comes to the routine update process (it breaks literally every time).

    If even Crapita withdraw from a tender, you know there's something very fishy with that tender!

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