New in brief

Short takes on this week's news

Tories attack over "failing" IT systems

Sir Malcolm Rifkind, the Conservative work and pensions spokesman, has criticised the Government for spending 2.2bn on "failing" computer systems from one supplier, the Daily Mail reports. Sir Malcolm said US-based IT contractor EDS had received the payments over three years but its technology had "wreaked havoc" on the Child Support Agency (CSA) in particular. EDS said it had a "near perfect record" on government contracts.

Cable & Wireless to buy rival Energis for 594m

Cable & Wireless (C&W) is to buy rival telco Energis for 594m, beating late bidder Thus to the company. Energis customers include AOL, BBC, IBM, Boots, Littlewoods, Centrica and DHL through to the Government Secure Intranet (GSi). C&W is expected to cut around 700 Energis jobs as a result of the takeover, which is subject to Office of Fair Trading approval.

Co op inks deal for supply of ATM services

The Co-operative Bank has agreed a seven-year deal for Wincor Nixdorf UK to supply the bank with end-to-end ATM services. The bank has not revealed the value of the contract, but it encompasses all of the bank's 2,400 ATMs, with Wincor Nixdorf due to assume responsibility for maintenance and transaction processing.

Police deploy online sex-offender register

Every Police force in the UK now has access to a 50,000-strong photographic database of violent and sex offenders. Home Office minister Fiona Mactaggart, said, "The database will make it harder for an individual to re-emerge undetected in another part of the country." The deployment of the Visor (Violent and sex offenders' register) system concluded when the Police Service of Northern Ireland implemented the database in April this year.

Local councils opting for off-the -shelf solutions

Society of IT Management's (Socitm) latest Index of Application Software has found that local authority IT depart-ments are buying off-the-shelf software rather than developing in-house systems. The study found there has been a decrease in the number of authorities using in-house developed software. Only 7% now have in-house developed software for their general ledger (16% in 2000).

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