Post Office IT chief upbeat about deal

The Post Office's IT director is optimistic that its recently announced £650m contract with Fujitsu Services will build on the...

The Post Office's IT director is optimistic that its recently announced £650m contract with Fujitsu Services will build on the organisation's past IT success.

Alan Barrie, IT director at the Post Office, which manages the UK's network of post offices, said, "We are starting to build up a track record of successful deployment such as the Horizon project.

"We are also trying to plan change in a way that lets us take a sensible view of risk."

Last week the Post Office awarded Fujitsu Services the massive contract to provide part of the IT backbone behind the government's overhaul of post office services.

Under the terms of the deal, which runs through to 2010, Fujitsu Services will help build the technology behind the government's new Universal Banking Service, which covers the new post office card account and the access of basic bank accounts through counters.

Fujitsu Services already provides counter systems in all 17,500 UK post office branches as part of the Horizon project.

The Universal Banking Service project means that customers will be able to continue collecting their benefit payments in cash from post office branches after the switch in April from paper-based processes to the direct payment of benefits into bank accounts.

A new service will also allow high street banks, where they have agreements with the Post Office, to offer their customers the facility for deposit and cash withdrawals through the post office branch network.

Last year, the Post Office signed a landmark outsourcing contract with EDS to build and support the basic bank accounts for receiving benefits as part of the Universal Banking Service project.

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