security, has been awarded the contract to supply the future design,
development and delivery of the department's information technology
department's computer systems. It will provide the public with
improved and efficient welfare services and will drive out fraud and
Affinity is a consortium led by EDS with IBM UK and
The DSS currently spends approximately£200m per annum on the
development and operation of its IT systems. This work will now
transfer to Affinity under a ten year contract. It is planned that
with effect from 1 September Affinity will become responsible for:
- running IT operations
- maintaining and enhancing existing systems
- subject to subsequent contracts, developing and operating new IT
- managing relationships with the department's other
Commenting on the contract, Alistair Darling, secretary of state for
social security, said:
'We need to replace all our ageing computer systems. That is the only
way to get claims right and keep them right.'
Approximately 1,550 staff - largely based in the NW and NE of England
- will transfer under Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of
Employment) regulations from the former Information Technology
Services Agency (ITSA) to Affinity. Affinity has stated that it aims
to expand and develop existing and future functions at the current
The DSS will retain the responsibility for the strategic management
of the Information Systems/Information Technology (IS/IT) services to
ensure the proper control of current and future IS/IT business.
1. In 1999, the DSS announced that it would establish a close, long
term relationship with three consortia as Service Providers. The
Affinity consortium (led by EDS with IBM as technology services
provider and PricewaterhouseCoopers providing specialist expertise
including finance, accounting and control) was chosen as the lead
Service Provider within these arrangements.
2. Overall, the DSS spends in the region of£300m per annum on its IT
systems, and network services which in 1999/2000 were made up as
Development Services £ 47m
Operations Services £ 154m
Network Services £ 73m
Other (includes support functions) £ 42m
Development and operations services are to be subsumed as part of the
CONTRACT AWARDED FOR NEW CHILD SUPPORT COMPUTER SYSTEM
The contract was awarded today for a new computer system for the
Child Support Agency (CSA). A new up to date IT system will play an
important part in delivering the new, simplified child support scheme
due to come in by April 2002.
Patricia Hollis, social security minister, said: 'We want a new
computer system to operate the reformed child support scheme. It will
allow usto calculate the maintenance due in days not months.
'The new computer system will help staff work in new ways by speeding
up and simplifying the process for collecting information from
customers and calculating maintenance.'
CSA staff will be able to take the right action on cases at the right
time - ensuring that money gets to children within weeks rather than
months. It will also ensure that customers calling the agency get
through quickly to staff who are able to deal effectively with their
The computer system being developed for the CSA will deal with new
child support cases by April 2002. Existing cases will be transferred
when the government is sure the new system is working well.
The system will be designed, built, financed and operated under a
private finance initiative contract with Affinity.
Patricia Hollis: 'This contract has far more safeguards than in the
past. In particular if the computer doesn't work we won't pay for it.
We have learnt a great deal from the problems we have encountered
with some other major IT contracts and we built in appropriate safety
The radical reform of the child support scheme will ensure that money
gets to children more speedily and reliably. The complex formula for
calculating child support will be replaced with simple percentage
rates based on the non-resident parent's income (15% for one child,
20% for two children and 25% for three or more children).
The latest government guidelines have been applied to safeguard
taxpayers' money and to ensure that the required system will be
available on time. The DSS will work closely with Affinity and has
robust arrangements to ensure that work is kept on schedule and that
it delivers what is required.
1. As well as replacing the CSA's IT system the government is due to
replace all DSS ageing computer systems. In particular it is:
- building new systems to deliver an up-to-date service to those of
working age, so staff can focus more on helping claimants to find
work rather than simply processing claims
- offering a modern service to pensioners by making more help
available over the phone
- working to combat fraud and error with new IT systems that will
allow cross checking of claims
2. The cost of the development reflected in the contract is around
3. Affinity (a consortium led by EDS with IBM UK and
Pricewaterhousecoopers) is the DSS's strategic partner and lead