Hackney signs new deal on benefits IT

Hackney Council has signed a new contract for a system to run its revenues and benefits service with Capita Group subsidiary,...

Hackney Council has signed a new contract for a system to run its revenues and benefits service with Capita Group subsidiary, Academy.

Academy will implement a back-office system to replace the one installed and run in-house by the London borough since April last year, following the humiliating termination of a £70m seven-year contract with ITNet in January 2001.

The council is seeking to draw a line under the chaos that arose from Hackney's association with ITNet, when a catalogue of problems emerged, including a backlog of 17,000 housing benefit cases and council tax collection rate of only 50%.

The council claimed up to £30m in damages from ITNet and brought the systems back in-house.

Capita, Academy's parent company, has recently been involved in a series of unsatisfactory government IT projects.

The well-publicised delays in processing criminal records checks for teachers have brought Capita under scrutiny as the Government's IT partner in the Criminal Records Bureau.

After the termination of the ITNet contract Hackney's revenues and benefits service was run in-house on a system called First, which will now be replaced by Academy's system. No one at Academy was available for comment.

The implementation of the new systems should be completed by April 2003, said a council spokeswoman.

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