Oil disaster crashes public sector systems

Hosted police and council IT systems have been crippled by the oil depot fire at Buncefield.

Hosted police and council IT systems have been crippled by the oil depot fire at Buncefield.

Outsourcer Northgate had its site near the disaster area partly destroyed by the explosions that erupted at the weekend, and the resulting fire and smoke has also taken its toll on the company’s offices.

The Police National Computer disaster recovery system was hit, forcing the Police Information Technology organisation to enact contingency measures.

In addition, at least three London councils, whose systems are hosted by Northgate, have also seen their council processes stalled, including council tax payments, payroll and council websites.

The councils affected are Wandsworth, Hackney and Haringey. The Police IT Organisation has put contingency plans into place to cope with damage to the system, although it insists police operations have not been affected.

Northgate said fixtures and fittings at the site were destroyed and back-up systems at the offices became inoperable.

Haringey’s website was taken out of action and its council tax and benefits system crashed. Wandsworth saw its housing benefits, council tax and housing repairs systems go down and Hackney, the least affected of all the councils, was unable to print staff payslips.

All three authorities said contingency plans have been put into place.

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