Secret recordsdata reveal fears over way forward for NHS IT large Atos | EUROtoday

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Secret paperwork present a scramble to safeguard essential public companies from the potential collapse of tech large Atos, which works with billions of kilos price of presidency contracts.

Files seen by the BBC present work has been underneath approach with consultants since January, aiming to restrict “severe implications” to important companies by lining up different IT suppliers.

The UK authorities outsources IT companies, together with for NHS information and incapacity advantages, to the French IT large’s UK arm, which admitted being greater than £3bn in debt in April and is now present process monetary restructuring.

The danger assessments, first reported by i informationpresent the Cabinet Office and Ministry of Justice employed consultants PwC to overview the corporate, described as “in financial distress” to “ensure continuity of critical public services”.

The BBC has seen the unredacted recordsdata, which have been mistakenly launched into the general public area by the Cabinet Office in May, though rapidly changed with blanked-out pages.

The paperwork reveal PwC was employed to work on a danger evaluation venture codenamed “Project Aztec” at first of the yr.

Project Aztec is believed to consult with Atos, with Aztec Group understood to consult with its Paris-based HQ and Aztec UK understood to be its London-based subsidiary.

Atos shares tumbled in January because the group changed its chief amidst ongoing struggles with debt, missed monetary targets and reportedly seemed to open negotiations with collectors.

Last week, the French authorities provided a £600m (750m euro) bid to purchase the corporate’s most delicate companies and Atos accepted an eleventh-hour monetary restructuring plan led by French investor David Layani.

Back in January, the Cabinet Office requested PwC to evaluate what was was prone to occur to authorities contracts if the broader firm went underneath, and whether or not restructuring choices being thought of by the French authorities would come with the monetary rescue of the UK arm of Atos.

According to the doc, the federal government was in search of recommendation on “the likely impact on Aztec UK and the His Majesty’s Government (HMG) critical contracts in the event that any part of the Aztec Group were placed into an insolvency process…

“Review and touch upon any monetary help offered by the French Government and whether or not this might be ring-fenced from the UK group “Aztec UK”, which performs the companies underneath HMG contracts.”

Atos has invoiced the government for contracts worth about £6bn since 2016 and currently has more than 40 government contracts worth nearly £1bn.

The firm is involved in IT systems at the Ministry of Defence, the Ministry of Justice and the Home Office, including:

  • NHS health records in hospitals
  • Disability benefit assessments for personal independents payments (PIP)
  • Records for the Student Loans Company
  • Tax refunds from His Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC)

Jonathan Ashworth, Labour’s shadow paymaster general, said the documents showed ministers needed to focus on major issues ” occurring in the actual world underneath their watch”.

He added: “The reality {that a} contract of such excessive industrial sensitivity was printed accidentally is not only proof of breathtaking incompetence, it’s also a disturbing indication that the grip the federal government ought to have on this concern is totally missing.

“After 14 years of Tory chaos, it’s time to turn the page and rebuild Britain with Labour.”

A spokesman for the Cabinet Office declined to call the agency identified inside Government as Aztec, however mentioned: “We undertake regular reviews of suppliers and on occasion will undertake further due diligence to ensure public services can be maintained in a variety of scenarios.”

A spokesman for Atos mentioned he couldn’t touch upon this concern, however on the broader concern of the corporate’s monetary points, he mentioned: “Atos is currently undergoing a financial restructuring and reached an agreement with a Consortium and its creditors which will create a stable financial future globally and in the UK.

“The provision of companies to our prospects has remained unaffected and we are going to proceed offering high-quality companies to the UK public sector as we have now for over 30 years.”

PwC declined to comment.

The Conservative Party has but to reply to requests for remark.