The Accord project encompasses everything from the benefits agency to the child support agency, with the benefits agency alone holding records for 20 million people. The cost of the exercise is uncertain.
Service providers EDS and IBM were announced last week by the government for the PFI project.
Jo Wright of IBM admits that, with many PFI contracts, saving money has been more important than improving public service with the result that impossibly low bids win.
PFI also has critics in the IT business who say that, unlike a road, a good IT system in 1998 is not necessarily right in 2008.
'In the IT world, often the PFI contract outlives the usefulness of what's being purchased', says Ms Wright.