Politicos demand full list of Fujitsu's public sector contract wins in wake of Post Office scandal
Committee wants to know which were awarded without competition and more
British MPs have written to the country's Treasury to demand details of all public sector contracts with Fujitsu as the Japanese tech supplier struggles in the wake of the Horizon Post Office Scandal.
The Treasury Committee has asked for details of contracts at 21 departments and organizations within the Treasury's sphere of influence, including His Majesty's Revenue & Customs.
On the list of queries, the MPs ask whether contracts have been awarded in open competition or directly awarded. "If a contract was directly awarded, please provide the rationale," the open letter states.
The Register has previously detailed a number of Fujitsu contracts across central and regional government which were renewed without competition, the latest being a £2 million ($2.54 million) contract extension to its existing £4.6 million ($5.85 million) deal to run the UK's flood warning system. The extension was granted after apparent delays to finding a replacement supplier.
Fujitsu is currently embroiled in the Post Office Horizon scandal, in which 736 local branch managers were wrongfully convicted of fraud when errors in the system were to blame.
The public inquiry into the scandal centers on the deployment of Fujitsu's bug-ridden Horizon accounting system, which made errors in calculating the finances of local Post Office branches run by postmasters and postmistresses. This destroyed the lives of many involved, leaving some bankrupt and others feeling suicidal, with several succeeding in ending their life. Sixty people died before just seeing any sort of justice served.
Although the issue has been going on for years, and the inquiry is now its in third year, focus on the scandal ramped up after the broadcast of an ITV dramatization documenting the saga was released on January 1 this year.
Fujitsu has already written to the UK government to confirm it will no longer tender for business in the public sector amid the ongoing inquiry into the Post Office scandal. The prime minister has also promised to bring forward acquittals and compensation.
However, the media and politicians are now looking over its existing contracts with government. The Treasury Committee's letter requests details of all of Fujitsu's contracts, including their value and length.
It asks whether considerations of supplier risk, including "whether the impact of reported issues with the Horizon system were taken into account in any contracts awarded or not awarded to Fujitsu."
It asks whether the department took or considered taking steps to bar Fujitsu from bidding for any contracts, what processes the department has in place to measure the performance of any contracts, and sets 1 February 2024 as a deadline for submissions.
- The Post Office systems scandal demands a critical response
- Post Office threatened to sue Fujitsu over missing audit data
- Fujitsu gets $1B market cap haircut after TV disaster drama airs
- UK public sector could save £20B by swerving mega-projects and more, claims chief auditor
UK tax collector HRMC could well be a particular focus for MPs. In October 2022, it awarded Fujitsu a £52 million ($60 million) deal, without competition, "to replace the Additional Services (the 'Fujitsu Services') and for associated IT project services (the 'Fujitsu Project Services') in circumstances where such services cannot be provided by another supplier."
In October 2020, HMRC also awarded Fujitsu a £168.8 million ($215 million) deal without competition to ensure critical applications running customs checks were still in place while the much-delayed replacement was finished.
It later said the Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight system would end its life in September 2022. It is now expected to retire in March 2024. ®