In 1996 the Department decided to procure a PFI contract in order to promote better management of the courts. This would PFI contract would result in the creation of the Libra project.
The Department received 19 expressions of interest in response to
a notice in the Official Journal of the European Communities.
Two bidders (ICL and EDS) submitted detailed proposals.
EDS declined to submit a response to the Invitation to Tender.
ICL submitted the only bid for £146 million.
ICL was 'chosen' as the preferred bidder.
ICL informed the Department in October 1998 that its board was no longer able to support the charging basis on which ICL had submitted its bid. ICL had not included all the costs needed to meet the Libra requirements and had made some inappropriate cost and revenue assumptions. Following intensive post-tender negotiations, a price of £184 million was agreed. A reconciliation between ICL's opening and final bids is given in Figure 10.
The Department awarded the contract to ICL after assessing ICL's offer as affordable and value for money. The contract was for £184 million over 10.5 years.
The Department signed a PFI contract with ICL in order to develop a national standard IT system for managing criminal fine enforcement. This system would be called Libra.
ICL submitted a bid of £146 million.
ICL sought a renegotiation of the contract as its cash flow forecasts
showed a £39 million deficit over the life of the deal.
In October 1999, some ten months after contract signature, ICL formally requested the Department to renegotiate the Libra contract on the grounds that ICL's cash flow forecasts showed a £39 million deficit over the life of the deal. ICL said that it would be unable to continue with Libra if this gap could not be closed. It wanted the negotiations to be concluded by 21 March 2000 as it would otherwise have had to declare a loss in its 1999–2000 accounts. It needed therefore to make a decision on whether to walk away by that date.
The Department and ICL signed a revised contract for £319 million
over 14.5 years. The increased cost was mainly for an extra four
years of service and for earlier roll-out of the infrastructure.
In May 2000 the Department and ICL signed a revised contract for the delivery of Libra. The value of the contract increased from £184 million to £319 million.
ICL informed the Department that it would only be able to deliver
criminal cases software to the first site in Suffolk by the target date of July 2001, with software for family and licensing cases to be
delivered 10 weeks later.
ICL brought in a new management team who re-evaluated the plan
and assessed that it was not deliverable.
In February 2001, ICL terminated the contracts of some of the senior managers involved in the project and appointed a new senior management team. The new team insisted on changing the direction of the project by agreeing a new method for documenting the Libra requirements definition. The new approach required a definitive document against which the product could be developed and formally tested and would address a number of integration problems.
The new ICL team quickly recognised that based on its new approach it would be unable to achieve the July 2001 target date for
the first site in Suffolk.
In June 2001 ICL indicated that it would not be able to implement the core software at Suffolk until May 2003. As part of a wider Gateway Review into IT projects in the Criminal Justice System, a Gateway Review8 of Libra took place in June 2001 (Appendix 3). The review was conducted as if it were Stage 4 of the review process which is normally carried out to determine whether the system is fit for deployment. Clearly Libra was not at that time in a state to be judged as fit for deployment and not surprisingly did not pass the review using the criteria appropriate to that stage. The review did find the project to be in serious trouble.
April 2001 Magistrates' courts took over responsibility for enforcement of fines from the police.
ICL told the Department that its forecast losses were now so high
that it could not continue with the contract unless it was
ICL was in breach of the contract for failing to meet the delivery
date for core software at the first site. The Department decided to
negotiate with ICL rather than terminate the contract and sue for
damages. The Department started to consider other options for
continuing with Libra.
The Court Service, an Executive Agency of the Department, took over responsibility for the project in July 2001 when it took over other responsibilities for magistrates' courts.
ICL told the Department that its maximum potential loss on the
project was £200 million and that it would repudiate the contract
unless the Department negotiated to cover the loss.
The Department and ICL signed a legally binding Memorandum of
Understanding, which placed the Department in a less favourable
position than simply continuing with the existing contractual
arrangements and relying on its contractual rights.
On grounds of value for money and affordability the Department
could not reach agreement with ICL for ICL to continue with the
After further negotiations, ICL reduced its price to £384 million. The Department could not reach agreement, on grounds of
value for money and affordability, for ICL to continue with the whole contract.
ICL changed its name to Fujitsu Services.
The Parliamentary Secretary said in a written answer that the contract was currently under renegotiation and it was not yet
possible to indicate the outcome.
The Lord Chancellor said in a written answer that the Government had no intention of allowing Libra to fail. The software application had been delayed and discussions were under way with Fujitsu Services (formerly ICL)
The Accounting Officer told the Committee of Public Accounts that the Department was negotiating with Fujitsu Services (formerly ICL) about the software package but that the negotiations had not finished.
The Department signed a revised contract with Fujitsu Services (formerly ICL) for £232 million over 8.5 years to supply only
the infrastructure element of Libra.
The Department signed a revised contract with ICL (now known as Fujitsu Services) for £232 million over 8.5 years to supply only the infrastructure element of Libra. The Department intends to sign
separate contracts with STL for the core software application and
for a systems integrator to roll out the programme.
ICL proposed a new price of £400 million for the enhanced infrastructure and full core application. The Department
considered that this price was not affordable and did not provide value for money. This conclusion was endorsed by a
second Gateway Review.
The Department intends to sign a separate contract with STL to develop the core software application.
Roll-out of the infrastructure is due to be completed.
End of Fujitsu Services contract term.