By Tony Collins
The Guardian has published the 123-page writ against CSC by lawyers acting behalf of some of the supplier’s investors. The writ contains many allegations against CSC and named directors. The company’s response is that it is corporate policy not to discuss litigation.
The legal action appears to have been based, in part, on CSC’s poor share price, which is today near a five-year low, and the supplier’s repeated positive statements and assurances on the performance of its NHS IT contracts and its iSoft Lorenzo software
These are some of the claims made in the document:
– Lorenzo was originally designed by iSoft as a one-size-fits-all software for use in local medical practices. “However, the UK healthcare system is highly diverse, ranging from large university hospitals to small private medical practices to prison medical facilities. Thus, according to the Deputy Head of Testing for Lorenzo, Lorenzo was never the correct software for the job. Lorenzo therefore required significant development before it could be deployed throughout the UK’s healthcare system.”
– In September 2008, after years of delays in Lorenzo’s development [CSC] sent a Delivery Assurance Review Team to England to assess the development and testing of Lorenzo. In mid-September, the Testing Review Team met with the Deputy Head of Testing for Lorenzo, a CSC employee from December 2007 until April 2011. The Deputy Head of Testing told the Testing Review Team that the level of testing and test results for Lorenzo was “abysmal,” and that the various releases on which the project was based could not be delivered on time. Subsequently [a CSC employee] told the Deputy Head of Testing to “shut up,” which he took to mean that he should not further criticise the quality of the testing nor the testing results.
– The Deputy Head of Testing claimed that the Lorenzo software was rife with severe defects that were unacceptable under the NHS Contract. The Deputy Head of Testing said that the software defects were subject to the following ratings: Severity Level I: the defect cause important part of the Lorenzo system to fail. Severity Level II: similar to Severity I, but the defect has a workaround. Severity Level III: the defect is an important defect, but one that would not stop the system from functioning. Severity Level IV: defect is a minor defect and would not impact the Lorenzo system’s function, but would be a nuisance to a software user.
– According to the Deputy Head of Testing, throughout 2008 and 2009, the level of Severity I and II defects in every release of Lorenzo was “high and grossly beyond” what the NHS would accept. According to the Deputy Head of Testing, while CSC publicly reported that it had met certain delivery milestones and therefore could recognize revenue, CSC’s statements in this respect were misleading in view of the software defects detailed above.
– CSC said in November 12, 2008, when analysts asked about missed deadlines, that “Our confidence continues to build on the program. We are pleased with our progress.”
– In financial statements CSC continued to assert that the NHS contract was profitable and the Company expected to recover its investment.
– Shortly before the Deputy Head of Testing retired from CSC in early April 2011, he sent an email directly to a CSC director, copying several other CSC executives, in which he said ‘You hope that you will succeed by August 2011. I do too but you won’t. The project is on a death-march where almost as many defects are being introduced as are being fixed.”
– by 2006 CSC had determined that it had no believable plan for delivering on the NHS Contract and should not have booked revenue under the contract from that point forward.
– The significance of the NHS Contract to CSC “placed the project squarely in the spotlight of Wall Street analysts”.
– CSC “continuously denied media reports critical of CSC’s performance of the contract”
CSC is expected to file its response to the allegations in due course.