Government in DBS IT services fiasco

04 Dec 2018

PCS has criticised the government for not taking the IT services for the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) back in-house following multiple problems.

The DBS launched the “R1” platform, developed by Tata Consultancy Services, in September 2017 to perform basic checks.

However, the Home Office minister Victoria Atkins told MPs in the House of Commons yesterday that DBS had “concluded that its R1 system is not suitable for further roll-out” and would be “procuring a new supplier to deliver these IT services.”

The parliamentary Public Accounts Committee reported in May that DBS modernisation was over four years behind schedule and £230 million over budget – with total costs set to rise to £885m.

Labour MP Mary Glindon said it was wrong to “waste yet more public money by continuing to outsource this vital project”.

She asked Ms Atkins if she agreed with PCS “that it should be brought in-house, providing proper accountability and better value for money.”

The union has written to ministers three times over concerns that the new system is defective and having a serious detrimental effect on safeguarding, but has received no meaningful response.

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: “This latest fiasco is yet more evidence of the need for IT services at DBS to be taken back in-house.

"Despite the failures of the contractor and spiralling costs, the government is ideologically wedded to outsourcing.

“We shouldn’t be allowing contractors to get their snout in the trough at the expense of the public.”

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