By Tony Collins
CSC reports today that it has repaid to the Department of Health £170m of a £200m advance it received earlier this year for NHS IT work that was due to be carried out under a memorandum of understanding.
The MoU was not signed as had been expected by 30 September 2011, so CSC has repaid the money.
But the Department of Health has entered into an “extended advance payment agreement” with CSC for £24m.
In a statement dated 3 October 2011 CSC has also disclosed that uncertainty continues over the future of its NPfIT contracts that are worth about £3bn.
It says that it is having a series of meetings with the NHS and Cabinet Office officials over the “next several weeks” and adds that: “there can be no assurance that the MOU [memorandum of understanding] will be approved nor, if it is approved, what final terms will be negotiated and included in the MOU”.
The statement relates to CSC’s negotiations with the Department of Health and the Cabinet Office’s Major Projects Authority over a draft memorandum of understanding that proposes cutting the cost to taxpayers of CSC’s contracts by about £800m but would cut back planned deployments of Lorenzo by nearly two thirds and could nearly double the cost of each remaining deployment. One Cabinet Office official has described the terms of the memorandum of understanding as unacceptable.
CSC says today that “progress is continuing in development and deployment projects under the contract in cooperation with the NHS, although progress has been constrained due to the uncertainty created by the government approval process”.
“Humber NHS Foundation Trust has been confirmed as the early adopter for mental health functionality to replace Pennine Care Mental Health Trust, which withdrew as an early adopter in April 2011, and CSC and the NHS are preparing to formally document this replacement under the contract.
“On April 1, 2011, pursuant to the company’s Local Service Provider contract, the NHS made an advance payment to the company of £200m related to the forecasted charges expected by the company during fiscal year 2012.
“The amount of this advance payment contemplated the scope and deployment schedule expected under the MOU and the parties had anticipated that the MOU would be completed and contract amendment negotiations would be underway by September 30, 2011.
“… the advance payment agreement provided the NHS the option to require repayment of the advance payment if the parties were not progressing satisfactorily toward completion of the expected contract amendment by September 30, 2011.
“Because completion of the MOU has been subject to delays in government approvals and, as a result, contract amendment negotiations have not progressed, the NHS required the company to repay approximately £170m of the April 1, 2011 advance payment on September 30, 2011, and the company agreed and made the repayment as requested.
“Also on September 30, 2011, the NHS and the company entered into an extended advance payment agreement providing for an advance payment of approximately £24m to the company in respect of certain forecasted charges for the company’s fiscal year 2012.
“The extended advance payment agreement acknowledges that the company’s Local Service Provider contract, as varied by the parties in 2010, is subject to ongoing discussions between the parties with the intention of entering into a memorandum of understanding setting out the commercial principles for a further set of updated agreements.
“The company intends to discuss the extended advance payment structure and certain fiscal year 2012 deployment charges with the NHS in connection with the MOU negotiations.
“However, there can be no assurance that the parties will enter into the MOU or that the company’s forecasted charges under the contract for the remainder of fiscal year 2012 will not be materially adversely affected as a result of the delay in completing the MOU and the related contract amendment.”
Meanwhile some investors of CSC have taken legal action against the company.