Sema shares soar as it wins pounds 305m contract to handle disability benefit tests
Saturday 21 February 1998
Under the terms of the controversial contract, which has faced stiff trade union opposition, Sema will take over the management of 220 Civil Service doctors, 1,200 administrative staff and the 3,000 part-time doctors who help assess whether claimants qualify for disability or incapacity benefit.
The DSS said Sema would bring enhanced management and increased investment in technology to the Benefits Agency Medical Service (BAMS), thereby speeding up the service.
John Tilley, managing director of Sema, said: ``The Sema Group, working with the DSS, will modernise the existing provision with the aim of giving claimants service improvements and taxpayers better value for money.''
The move is unusual for Sema, which normally specialises in information technology outsourcing and systems integration projects. Although the BAMS project involves some information technology, it is more of a pure outsourcing project, requiring superior organisational and management skills. Sema is understood to have beaten off bids from rival outsourcing groups such as Capita and Andersen Consulting to win the contract.
The DSS insisted that the decision to award the contract was not part of the wider review of the welfare state which is currently taken place, and added that it did not have a dogmatic view about outsourcing services to private contractors.
However, the award of the contract suggests that the pace of outsourcing is unlikely to slow under the Labour government, even though several contracts, like BAMS, were first dreamed up under the previous administration.
The Labour government has already awarded a pounds 450m contract to handle the pay, pensions and administration for the armed forces to EDS, the US outsourcing giant.
It is also currently conducting trials for a huge contract to improve efficiency in the Benefits Agency and help reduce fraud. Groups on the shortlist include a partnership between IBM and EDS, as well as a consortium including Sema and the management consultancy group Deloitte & Touche. The contract is expected to be awarded in the next six months.
However, many large government outsourcing deals have run into problems. The Inland Revenue computer system, designed by EDS as part of a pounds 1.6bn contract, crashed under the burden of self-assessment claims. And a two year delay to a pounds 1.5bn contract designed to pay benefits with electronic "smart cards" and computerise Post Offices around the country, managed by the computer group ICL, has prompted the government to consider bringing in rival suppliers.
Given the size and complexity of the contracts, industry experts are not surprised that they frequently run into problems. "If I had a huge computer contract to award I would divide it between three or four companies," said Richard Holway, an industry analyst. "But the Government seems to think that these large contracts still make sense."
- 1 Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Pro-Russian rebel 'admits to shooting down plane'
- 2 Israel has discovered that it's no longer so easy to get away with murder in the age of social media
- 3 Israel-Gaza conflict: The myth of Hamas’s human shields
- 4 Amy Winehouse unpublished 2004 interview: ‘Ten years from now I’ll be 30, so I’ll maybe have one baby’
- 5 Dutch paedophile club to fight their ban at the European Court of Human Rights
Lana Del Rey: 'I have slept with a lot of guys in the industry'
Peaches Geldof cause of death: 'Heroin addict' socialite had taken fatal dose of drug, inquest concludes
Peaches Geldof inquest: Tragic final moments of socialite's life reveal she lied to husband about failed heroin tests
Israel-Gaza conflict: The myth of Hamas’s human shields
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Was a Russian-made missile really parked in this quiet square?
Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 crash: 'Nine Britons, 23 Americans and 80 children' feared dead after Boeing passenger jet is 'shot down' near Ukraine-Russia border
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Vladimir Putin is given 'one last chance' to end hostilities in Ukraine
The 'scroungers’ fight back: The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Ukrainian military jet was flying close to passenger plane before it was shot down, says Russian officer
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Massive rise in sale of British arms to Russia
iJobs Money & Business
£350 - £400 per day: Orgtel: PMO Analyst - Banking - London - £350 -£400 per d...
£300 - £350 per day + competitive: Orgtel: Cost Reporting Manager - MI Packs -...
£35000 - £40000 Per Annum plus 23 days holiday and pension scheme: Clearwater ...
£475 - £525 per day: Orgtel: Test Lead, London, Investment Banking, Technical ...