Tata win Child Maintenance COTS IT deal

Past disasters ensure deliberate lack of innovation


The Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission has chosen Tata Consultancy Services to build its new IT system.

The commission, which took over the role of the Child Support Agency in November 2008, advertised the £50m tender last September.

Stephen Geraghty, the child maintenance commissioner, said the new system will use commercial off the shelf software (COTS) to lessen risk. "In learning the lessons of the past we will not attempt to 'reinvent the wheel' and order a single, purpose-built IT system," he said.

"The collection and payment of child maintenance is not dissimilar from transactions performed millions of times a day for financial organisations around the world. We want to draw on that technical expertise and provide to future child maintenance clients the kind of service they should expect."

This will include the commission providing account information online, by email and by text message, Geraghty added. "Many of the justified complaints against the old CSA were the result of the limitations of its IT systems. While we have made good progress since 2006 in improving those systems, it is essential that IT issues will not distract from a parent's duty to financially provide for their children."

The Child Support Agency was described in July 2007 by the Public Accounts Committee as "one of the greatest public administration disasters of recent times," largely down to the state of its IT systems.

Chris Pennell, a senior analyst at Kable, said the decision provided an insight into the views of the commission's parent department, the Department for Work and Pensions.

"While not a large contract in relation to past spend, this is certainly a good win for Tata Consultancy Services and shows the determination of the DWP to utilise the benefits of COTS solutions where possible," he said. "For other suppliers it is an indication that the DWP is serious about managing its IT better and delivering greater value for money."

The commission said its new system will incorporate Oracle's Siebel customer relationship management system, Tata's BaNCS banking system and products from Experian, Genysys, IBM and Oracle.

According to the tender notice, the system will handle case management, automated scheduling of payments, financial and arrears management and the management of civil and legal enforcement.

Source: KableDIRECT Publication date: 07/04/2009 13:18:58

This article was originally published at Kablenet.

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