Legal action on hold as NHS contractor CSC talks to iSoft about management role

NHS contractor CSC is in talks with troubled software supplier iSoft to enable it to take a greater role in managing the delivery of the care record system at the heart of the health service’s £12.4bn National Programme for IT (NPfIT).

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NHS contractor CSC is in talks with troubled software supplier iSoft to enable it to take a greater role in managing the delivery of the care record system at the heart of the health service’s £12.4bn National Programme for IT (NPfIT).

The talks follow escalating tension between the two firms that saw iSoft initiate a lawsuit earlier this week after CSC blocked its planned £140m sale to Australian software firm IBA.

But iSoft has since announced that while discussions are in progress, both companies had “agreed temporarily not to take further steps in court” in relation to the legal action begun on 4 June.

The talks cover “commercial arrangements under which CSC would take a greater role in the management” of Lorenzo, delivery of which is now running two years late.

Under an agreement between the two companies signed last year after iSoft reported a series of financial losses, CSC – the lead contractor for NPfIT in three out of five regions – has the right to step in and manage Lorenzo and must give its consent to any sale of the software firm.

The IT services giant withheld its consent to the IBA deal because it felt this would not support successful delivery of the Lorenzo system. Instead it moved to increase the number of CSC staff – currently around 100 – working inside iSoft.

But iSoft said it “continues to seek CSC’s consent” for the sale to IBA.

Earlier this week, iSoft revealed that CSC had itself considered a possible offer for the troubled software firm and had also investigated purchasing its debt – with an approach to the banks made without iSoft’s knowledge.

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