Capita blamed in schools’ data loss

16 March 2005 Management services company Capita is at the centre of a dispute over software failures at schools across England and Wales that forced teachers across the country to move back to paper-based records systems.

According to reports in the Guardian newspaper, Capita has lost irreplaceable school data after a botched software upgrade to Sims, the management system used in more than two-thirds of schools to keep staff and pupil records, finances and timetabling schedules. As a result of the corrupted records, some schools have been forced to move back to a paper-based records system until the problems are ironed out.

Capita has denied that the problems were as widespread as reported in the Guardian. Phil Neal, director of Sims at Capita Education Services, said that in an upgrade operation of the scale undertaken, it was inevitable that a small number of schools would be hit by unexpected side-effects.

The Guardian reports that the software problems first came to light when schools tried to make a census return in January, but could not find or retrieve the information they needed.

Capita was last October awarded the five year, £177 million contract to manage the government’s strategy of improving literacy and numeracy across primary and secondary schools. However, Capita has been involved in other high profile IT problems, including the botched implementation at the Criminal Records Bureau.

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Ben Rossi

Ben was Vitesse Media's editorial director, leading content creation and editorial strategy across all Vitesse products, including its market-leading B2B and consumer magazines, websites, research and...

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