Sub-postmasters were convicted of theft, fraud and false accounting due to faulty Horizon accounting system © Photo by Tolga Akmen/AFP via Getty Images)
Sub-postmasters were convicted of theft, fraud and false accounting due to faulty Horizon accounting system © Photo by Tolga Akmen/AFP via Getty Images)

Anger as Fujitsu wins £500m HMRC contract despite Post Office scandal

12 April 2022

The tech firm responsible for providing faulty accountancy software to the Post Office has been awarded a government contract to supply HMRC with a range of computing services.

The contract was awarded to Fujitsu after software provided by the company led to over 700 Post Office branch managers receiving criminal convictions between 2000-14 after it gave the impression money was missing from Post Office accounts.

The new contract – worth £500m – means Fujitsu will provide HMRC with all “desktop, print and workspace services” over the next five years.

Labour’s deputy leader Angela Rayner said the contract was “a kick in the teeth for sub-postmasters”, after the software’s accounting glitches led to hundreds of sub-postmasters and mistresses losing their jobs.

Rayner continued: “The government is doing nothing to ensure this company is held to account for its role in the Horizon scandal. People lost their homes, their reputations, even their lives as a result. All ongoing government contracts with Fujitsu must be urgently reviewed.”

In January it was announced all those impacted by the scandal would receive compensation totalling more than £1bn in taxpayer subsidies. Fujitsu was not required to pay the compensation. 

Labour MP Karl Turner said the government should not award contracts to Fujitsu until the supplier promised to provide funding towards the compensation.

“The government should not be procuring any contracts from that business until we have a cast-iron guarantee that every bean required to pay compensation is received from Fujitsu,” he said. “Anything else would be utterly contemptible from Fujitsu and would also show the government has contempt for the victims.”

Research by Tussell found Fujitsu has been awarded 134 public contracts worth a total value of £3.56bn since 2012. 

HMRC has awarded contracts to the company totalling £1,012,597,530 since 2012, while the Ministry of Defence awarded the largest, worth £565m in 2015.

A HMRC spokesperson told Supply Management: “Our contracts are decided via fair and open competition, to improve services for our customers and get the best deals for taxpayers. We welcome bids from suppliers of all sizes and follow government procurement rules.”

HMRC said it was in the process of replacing around 75% of its current IT service contracts by value by the end of June 2022. 

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