Lord Chancellor's department drops Fujitsu Services from law court software project

Fujitsu Services will no longer be developing specialist software for the Libra project to modernise magistrate court computer...

Fujitsu Services will no longer be developing specialist software for the Libra project to modernise magistrate court computer systems.

The Lord Chancellor's department has confirmed it is looking to procure application services from another provider because of what it described as "serious concerns" over the contract. Fujitsu-Services attempted to renegotiate the contract because of delays in delivery of the system and increases in its development costs.

The news follows growing concern over the supplier's ability to deliver the system in timely and cost-effective manner.

In a memo to staff in magistrates courts earlier this year, the Lord Chancellor's department said, "Despite the best efforts of all those involved, we have been unable to reach an agreement with Fujitsu on a proposition for Libra which represents value for money and which we can afford."

It added that discussions with Fujitsu are continuing, but "we are also discussing a fallback position".

Those negotiations have now ended. A statement issued by the Lord Chancellor's department said, "It has not been possible to reach an agreement on the specialised software at an acceptable price, which will deliver value for money for the taxpayer."

Having already paid £6.8m to Fujitsu Services for design of the software, the Lord Chancellor's department is now looking to buy commercial software which, it claims, is "robust, tried and tested".

Libra's aim was to replace existing legacy IT systems in the magistrates' courts with a single, national, standard system infrastructure and application services to support court business. The overall goal was to provide office automation to the courts and a standard infrastructure.

In the original contract Fujitsu Services would supply both parts. While 75% of the infrastructure is now in place, rollout of specialist software has been delayed.

Fujitsu Services will continue to deliver and run the infrastructure services for magistrate courts through a revised £232m contract. According to the Lord Chancellor's Department, by separating delivery of the infrastructure from the application the revised Libra project has a better chance of success.

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