The government body that replaced the Child Support Agency is managing 75,000 cases on paper, four years after an EDS built system with over 500 faults was scrapped.
The Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission, which is spending £320 million replacing the EDS system, was lambasted by a parliamentary committee for the near “exponential rise” in paper-based case processing as systems failed.
The number of cases left unprocessed was still growing fast and would hit 108,000 by September, the Work and Pensions Committee forecast. It had risen from 19,000 cases in 2006 to 75,000 last September.
Processing cases on paper costs an estimated £967, over three times the cost of using the IT system. But the system currently has an estimated 1,000 faults, including new problems, even though an upgrade corrected 350 issues. Using its old system, it has around 3,000 IT incidents a week.
CMEC is now spending £45 million procuring a system based around off the shelf Oracle Siebel customer relationship management products, and support services from Tata Consultancy Services. The services supplier was partly chosen for the risk it was prepared to take on.
The new system will also be based around TCS BaNCS banking software, and other software from Experian, Genysys, and IBM.
The agency said in a hearing for the report that the “bespoke nature of the current [EDS] CS2 system" had "contributed to many historic and current problems and made the system expensive to operate and improve”. The committee ordered it to provide progress reports on case management and the transition to the new system every six months.
A spokesperson at CMEC said today: “The new child maintenance scheme, which will be supported by a brand new IT system, will provide the long-term solution to this issue. This remains on track for launch next year.”
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