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back to article UK.gov blacklists Fujitsu from future contracts - report

Japanese IT group Fujitsu is among several companies that have been "blacklisted" by the UK Government, claims the Financial Times. It means that Fujitsu, G4S and other unnamed companies will not be considered for future public sector contracts when they come up for tender because of their poor performance on past and existing …

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"the comment is that we are not commenting. We don't comment on government contracts and we're not commenting on this."

Surely commenting that you're not commenting is still commenting? Comments anyone?

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WTF?

I suggest El Reg contact them and request that they comment on how committed they are to their no comments on comments policy because commentards asked in the comments.

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Anonymous Coward

No comment.

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WTF?

"the comment is that we are not commenting. We don't comment on government contracts and we're not commenting on this."

That's not even tautology. It's a non-denial denial - also known as tacit confirmation.

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Trollface

Is this a lost episode of "The Prisoner"?

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Trollface

My comment is that between the lines of not commenting, Fuj are a little grumpy today.

Need a hug, Fuj?

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I think Sir Humphrey must have got a nice cushy non exec post at Fujitsu for his retirement.

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Re: Is this a lost episode of "The Prisoner"?

No, but the script is so long they're still filming it.

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Pint

I interviewed with the Big F for a military project. I asked why they proposed using IE6 instead of Firefox for a more secure browsing experience. I don't think my point was appreciated. Then again I didn't need to go through the entire security clearance bollocks. Which was nice.

Pint to whoever grew a set of cajones and set up the black list. Now by rights that list should grow quite nicely.

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" by rights that list should grow quite nicely"

Yes, although I do wonder if there will be anyone who escapes it.

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Anonymous Coward

There is that military equipment supplier...

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Paris Hilton

For the love of God, cOjones

Please please please white people/English speakers, the fecking word is c-o-j-o-n-e-s, NOT c-A-j-o-n-e-s, PLEASE get it right (cojones = balls, cajones = dresser drawer, so you sound like a twunt saying "cajones"...)

Paris Hilton because SHE would know the difference between cojones and cajones...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: For the love of God, cOjones

You've read some of the other comments on this site right? Some commentards struggle with English words, you should be willing to let foreign words slide....

I'm looking at all of you who use "of" or "loose" in the wrong context :-)

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Re: For the love of God, cOjones

so tou are saying tat getting yer cojones trapped when you shut yer cajones would be bad?

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Happy

Re: For the love of God, cOjones

Dude....its avant grade expressionism with a huge dollop of Dadaism and a few flakes of Surrealism!

Ok...no...point taken. I honestly thought it was cajones...I will not make the same mistake. Thanks for pointing it out :)

Its always good to learn.

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Pint

Yes, although I do wonder if there will be anyone who escapes it

I'd be happy with that...a fresh start as it were. It would certainly help the smaller and more agile enterprises to gain a foothold in the areas that have traditionally been the hunting grounds of the big players. I have a feeling that smaller players with more to lose would be far more interested in delivering quality. On the flip side of that of course is if they can afford to walk away from deals that do not sit well either technology or management wise.

Pint coz this is really pub talk.

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Idiots

The first rule of the blacklist is that you don't talk about the blacklist as it breaks EU procurement rules.

What you do is ask for examples of relevant previous projects and the contact details of the clients so you can find out how useless they are. You also ask pointed questions about previous contracts where performance clauses were invoked, penalties paid etc.

Do this right and you don't need a blacklist...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Idiots

How are they idiots? all the government have said is that they don't have a blacklist.

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Re: Idiots

That assumes you have someone who is (a) independent and (b) competent to ask these kind of questions.

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Re: Idiots

and (c) had performance clauses in those contracts

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Devil

Re: Idiots

If only Edinburgh Council had had the cOjones to find out the uselessness of the main conrtactor for the trams debacle they would by now have a tram line that went somewhere rather than one that only went to the airport and back to Princes St.

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Anonymous Coward

Based on poor performance in the past

Then why do they still keep giving Capita contracts?

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Re: Based on poor performance in the past

Then why do they still keep giving Capita contracts?

Probably because there aren't that many outfits that can handle the size and/or scope of Government contacts. Whoever gets the contract may be the best of a bad bunch.

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Don't call this a tumor. It's just showing unexpected requirements.

"handle the size and/or scope of Government cont[r]acts"

I think you have identified the problem.

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Thumb Down

Re: Based on poor performance in the past

Amongst the companies that clearly can't handle government contracts is Capita. A lack of bidders is not reason to give work to a dreadful one; it's a reason to look again at the work you're offering.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Based on poor performance in the past

You mean "Crapita" not "Capita" is that just my good English or your typo

Either way I think your statement stands!

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Angel

Re: Based on poor performance in the past

Maybe because someone in Government is looking for a nice role there in later life.....

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Re: Based on poor performance in the past

Having worked on the inside of these deals for several companies I can tell you that one of the reasons Capia will still be getting work is because part of what they are paid to do is stand up publicly and take the blame when HMG cock things up, so the Whitehall bods don't get drummed out of the service for serial incompetence.

Have you never noticed how projects always go wrong in the same way but with different suppliers? There's a reason for that.

Here's how things work:

1) New contract awarded to supplier(A)

2) After honeymoon period (about 2 months), cracks start to appear as supplier and HMG try to amalgamate completely different working practices.

3) After a year, contract is re-negotiated when HMG realised they haven't asked for what they want and are surprised when supplier delivers what they asked for instead of what they want.

4) Things go quiet for a year or two.

5) HMG eventually introduce so many changes and delays into <big project> that it becomes impossible for anyone to deliver on time or budget as you effectively have to start again.

6) Supplier and HMG have "crisis meetings".

7) Supplier takes blame for f*ck up

8) At end of contract, HMG kicks out supplier(A) for f*ck up (wink).

9) New contract awarded to supplier(B).

10) 90% of supplier(A) staff on contract TUPE to supplier(B)

11) After six months in the wilderness, supplier(A) is awarded a new contract that supplier(B) has "f*cked up" (wink, wink).

12) 90% of supplier(B) staff on contract TUPE to supplier(A)

And repeat.

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Anonymous Coward

I do wonder

Just how long it will be before UK.gov runs out of companies to contract their IT stuff out to, iot seems to me that none of the current crop of providers have any kind of competence other than in.

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Coat

possibly

because Fujitsu dont promise to hand out enough 'directorships' to ex-politicians, and capita do... alledgedly

Oh and G4S.. they're just plain crap

Boris

<<running away from the angry lawyers

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I was going to make a similar point

"because of their poor performance on past and existing government deals."

translates to

"because they don't make big enough donations to the Tory party."

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Stop

Re: I was going to make a similar point

"because they don't make big enough donations to the Tory party."

Seriously, you're going with THAT angle? Are you aware of anything the Liebour party got up to in the last decade? People in glass houses and so on.... Don't get me wrong, i'm not exactly a supporter of the current crock 'o shite we have in gov't but the last lot are a law unto themselves....

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Facepalm

on the other hand....

It makes me wonder how many suppliers have blacklisted UK Gov and would request they don’t consider asking them them to bid for public service contracts

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Meh

As public sector contracts are in no way a hotbed of corruption....

"companies will not be considered for future public sector contracts when they come up for tender because of their poor performance on past and existing government deals."

So does that mean capita are barred for life?

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Re: As public sector contracts are in no way a hotbed of corruption....

We can only hope so.....

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Unhappy

But who *will* bid for HMG's barely spec'd super-mega projects with 4 yr supplier selection?

Because *real* competitive development companies cannot afford to f**k about with endless beauty pageants to be told "No, you were scored down because you did not use enough staff from Wales/Scotland/NI/Serbia/some-other-f**king-place-they-put-in-the-list"

Perhaps they *might* like to consider breaking the work down into *smaller* packages and not using this "£10m/yr over a decade equals £100m. We can't have *any* one on the bid list with a net worth of less than £100m" b***cks.

Anyone remember NIRS II? "We'll be *so* much cheaper as it's the first client/server social security system in the *world*" There was a reason *everyone* else bid a mainframe solution. R(very big system) x R(never used implementation strategy) x R( unexpected problems) = probability(of-massive-clusterf**k.)

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Re: But who *will* bid for HMG's barely spec'd super-mega projects with 4 yr supplier selection?

Perhaps they *might* like to consider breaking the work down into *smaller* packages and not using this "£10m/yr over a decade equals £100m. We can't have *any* one on the bid list with a net worth of less than £100m" b***cks.

Absolutely. I'm convinced a committed bunch of freelancers or micro-SMEs (or whatever the term is for a 5 staff company) could do a better and significantly cheaper job than most of these over paid consultancies. In a 5 man shop EVERYONE is committed 100% of the time. In big coorporations you're paying overheads for things that simply don't need to be. Too much talk going on, not enough real work.

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IT Angle

Re: But who *will* bid for HMG's barely spec'd super-mega projects with 4 yr supplier selection?

The issue with breaking a large project down into smaller contracts is someone has to be responsible for making sure all the bits work when connected back up - something the government is utterly useless at doing as it has neither the skills or the intellect to do.

People frequently forget that most if not all of these 'blacklisted' companies have hundreds or thousands of satisfied, content clients plus the UK government. The problem is the Uk government, its contract structures, its failures to adhere to its side of the contract in almost all cases. Without HMG contracts, these companies would be smaller but do just fine.

Blacklisting wouldn't help in the slightest as eventually everyone gets blacklisted.

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Re: But who *will* bid for HMG's barely spec'd super-mega projects with 4 yr supplier selection?

A 5 man operation can't afford to take 30 or 40 government ministers/home office mandarins to the worlds hottest destinations on 'fact finding' missions. Without the 'facts' how can they make informed decisions?

P.S. I wonder how many 'fact finding missions' are being planned to look at the environmental impact of big government procurement contracts on the rain forests to take place in Rio in four years time.

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Facepalm

In other news...

The Public Accounts Committee has announced an investigation into the overspend and ultimate failure and cancellation of the late-running government contract awarded to a 'major information technology company' to develop a database system to maintain and track details of those IT companies blacklisted from future government IT contracts.

An unnamed spokesperson said that the project suffered from numerous flaws and bugs - most notably a mysterious design fault that shut down a user's data entry terminal if they entered the letters c-a-p-i into any field.

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Anonymous Coward

Hmmm

This wouldn't have anything to do with Fujitsu threatening to sue the Govt for £700m over the NHS IT debacle would it?

It can't just be for dodgy contract performance alone, as every major IT services provider has been involved in enormous Govt contract failures over the last 15 years, and is continuing to do so...

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Anonymous Coward

Fujitsu eh?

I used to work for them and have a lot of friends that still do. I feel very sorry for them right now as they are good people, and were good at their jobs. Can't speak for the rest of the company mind.

Oh yes, and AC for very obvious bloody reasons.

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Anonymous Coward

Things To Remember

Frequently news headlines report tasty morcels which are sucked up by the masses, but the real story which might not be so inviting in appeal terms, is often missed. And so it might be with this announcement. We don't actually know what the real news is with this one.

What we have with this story is an MP who has clout who is trying to demonstrate what a hard guy he is. Because if he didn't do so then he might find his own feathers being trimmed.

Astonishingly, it seems that FJ might have been pulled into the limelight because there is an ongoing £700m dispute between FJ and the government before the courts - with the government owing money to FJ. I presume that FJ would soon find themselves off that blacklist if they found a way to write off the £700m debt.

And this hard guy in government had better be careful, because if he is seen to be pouring scorn on a major IT supplier then it won't be long before other IT suppliers figure they don't want to deal with government on future contracts. The end result of this short-term policy could be a massive overspend for government in future years when they find they can't get partnerships with big companies working - or are forced to use only a limited number of companies because the others won't play ball.

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Re: Things To Remember

Since every single major project run by these big companies has been an unmitigated disaster, I think I can hold back the tears on that one.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Things To Remember

A relevant quote: ' As to the blacklisted companies left sitting, in the words of one observer, on the procurement “naughty step”, they will be able to work their way back into the government’s good graces – but the process will be demanding. Mr Maude said the government would expect any outstanding legal action that was “costing money on both sides in lawyers’ fees” to be quickly resolved'.

FT Article

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Meh

Re: Things To Remember

"And this hard guy in government had better be careful, because if he is seen to be pouring scorn on a major IT supplier then it won't be long before other IT suppliers figure they don't want to deal with government on future contracts. "

Isn't that pretty much what already happens?

.."or are forced to use only a limited number of companies because the others won't play ball."

With the rules that HMG uses to select which companies they will allow to bid that pretty much happens already as well..

You've missed the *other* possible effect. That HMG *might* decide to re-structure it's requirements (including it's interface documentation and procurement cycle) to allow smaller players. This might allow a big enough pool of development *companies* to make benching under performers a *real* threat.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Things To Remember

I would agree that the ongoing legal wrangling is at the root of this. Smart money is in some sort of settlement and everybody gets back in the sandpit and starts playing like good children all over again.

Having got close sources inside Fujitsu, since about £1bn of their annual UK T/O of £1.6bn is directly related in some way or other to Government business, it seems odd that there is not a constructive resolution in play, unless of course they want to destroy their UK operation through obstinacy.

Whether they are any good or not, there are enough comments here about others who are perceived to be about the worst of the worst - Crapita being the main target. Seems to be a real choice of evils and current Government strategy to "divide and conquer" by splitting large contracts into vertical elements will only cause more pain, problems, increased costs and reduced "efficiency" as there will be nobody capable or empowered to pull the whole piece together. Persistent f***-ups in Government IT will be the thing of the future any time soon.........even more so than ever before.

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Headmaster

No blacklist, but...

Government officials that state that "they do not operate a blacklist of vendors" are speaking the truth, but only in as far as that there is no list headed "Do Not Buy from These".

What there is is a list of "Risk Multipliers". The "cost" of any bid is assessed as the product of the price quoted and this multiplier.

So, all they need to do is make the multiplier for Fujitsu so extreme in relation to all others that the only way they could beat the "cost" of others is to do the work for free (in which case they'll probably be in violation of some price dumping legislation)

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Happy

Simples

Someone e.g the register put in a Freedom of Information request.

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