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MPs to quiz CSA chief over IT performance

Alan Johnson, the minister responsible for the Child Support Agency, will be quizzed tomorrow by the chairman of a Commons...

Alan Johnson, the minister responsible for the Child Support Agency, will be quizzed tomorrow by the chairman of a Commons committee that has investigated why some major IT projects fail.

MP Archy Kirkwood, who chairs the Work and Pensions Committee, will also question the head of the CSA, Doug Smith, about why thousands of cases have not been migrated to a system which was introduced in 2003.

EDS, which supplied the system under a 10-year £467m deal, has admitted its performance was not up to standard. In the 18 months to 19 September, EDS was paid £62m. In that period the CSA withheld £12.1m from the firm because of performance problems.

Kirkwood said, "While the performance of the CSA IT system is unacceptable, problems with the agency go much deeper."

Computer Weekly has revealed that the agency, after specifying the new system, made more than 2,000 change requests. Details of these requests have not been published.

The committee believes that the cloak of commercial confidentiality is used to hide details of problems on IT-related projects.

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