The Cabinet Office will review all of the government’s high-value technology contracts with Atos following serious failings identified with the company's development of the GP Extraction Service.
The Public Accounts Committee accused Atos of “sharp practice” in relation to its multi-million pound GPES contract in a report published in January.
The PAC report said the French IT company, “did not show an appropriate duty of care to the taxpayer” and that it failed to provide “proper, professional support to an inexpert client” when it allowed the NHS Information Centre to accept the system without end to end testing.
The committee recommended that The Cabinet Office should undertake a full review of Atos’s relationships as a supplier to the Crown.
“We expect the Cabinet Office to note carefully this example of sharp practice when determining what obligations a duty of care on contractors should entail and what sanctions would apply when performance falls short,” it said.
A Cabinet Office spokesperson has confirmed to Digital Health News that: “In line with the PAC’s recommendation, the Cabinet Office is undertaking a review of all current Atos contracts with central Government with an annual spend over £10 million."
Atos was awarded the GPES contract in 2011 to produce the software to enable data to be extracted from GP computer systems for planning, payment, and quality management.
GPES extractions were supposed to start in 2009-10, but did not start until April 2014. The system is now being used by two of the eight organisations identified as potential users, and "is only delivering about half of what was specified and paid for,” this year’s PAC report said.
The expected cost of the system also rose from £14 million to £40 million during the planning and procurement phase, and has since risen further, because of write-offs, additional settlements, and delays.
An Atos spokesperson said the company is only responsible for one part of GPES and did not have oversight of the full process.
“We look forward to working with the Cabinet Office, with whom we have a transparent and open relationship and we look forward to maintaining our green rating for delivery across Whitehall,” it said in a statement issued in response to the latest developments.
A National Audit Office report published last July said design flaws with GPES mean it has no future and the Health and Social Care Information Centre may only get two years' more use out if it.