Select Committee on Environment, Transport and Regional Affairs Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence



  1.  Following implementation of DTCS, DSA established and agreed arrangements with the IT contract provider (Capita) for monitoring of system performance and its availability. In July 1999 an analysis was completed of the outstanding functional shortcomings against the original specification. These faults were corrected by October 1999, and DSA signed off satisfaction with system functionality in November 1999—ie it did what it had been designed to do.

  2.  Although there were some improvements, the performance and availability of the system failed to reach specified target levels. Therefore, in June 1999, DSA initiated claims for damages against the contractor. (This was the earliest date from which claims could be made within the terms of the contract.)

  3.  By January 2000 the booking system was functioning for 97 per cent of the time, (2 per cent below the performance target of 99 per cent). But from February performance began to decline as volumes of bookings started to climb in line with seasonal trends. Capita were unable to identify any obvious causes for the decline in system performance.

  4.  A study was commissioned to review all aspects of system performance and a programme of general improvement actions was agreed, including upgrades of hardware, overhaul of telecommunications links and improvements to operating systems software. Implementation of the improvements began in June 2000 and all actions in the plan are scheduled to be completed by the end of October.

  5.  In July 2000, DSA identified problems with communications links for payment card authorisations, which intermittently prevented us taking credit card payments. These communications links are supplied under a separate contract with BMS and lie outside the scope of the DTCS contractor's responsibilities. The Agency's service level arrangements with BMS are under continuous review and have appointed a new telecommunications supplier in order to improve service reliability.

  6.  Over July and August 2000, Capita's operation of DTCS has been close to the 99 per cent level of system acceptance quality, but there was a downturn in September. DSA will not sign off acceptance of the performance aspects of DTCS the 99 per cent target is met on a consistent basis. The contract provides for payments of Liquidated Damages in the event of late delivery of a fully acceptable system. DSA has made a claim for the maximum contractual amount under these provisions. Capita's response has been to make a counter-claim. This issue is being pursued through the Contractual Disputes Resolution process.

  7.  The Agency will undertake a Post Implementation Review of the system, following final system acceptance.

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