Government to face Atos in court following spat over £845m supercomputer contract
The UK government is set to face IT company Atos in the UK’s High Court next month after the French firm filed a lawsuit against government over its decision to award an £845m Met Office contract to Microsoft.
The French multinational is claiming its bid was wrongly excluded from the tendering process on the grounds its plans were not compliant with the Met Office’s technical requirements.
The High Court lawsuit comes after Microsoft won the multi-million-pound contract to build the Met Office’s weather forecasting system in 2021, after the UK government pledged £1.2bn of funding to build the advanced supercomputer.
On completion, the Met Office’s new supercomputer is set to be the world’s most advanced weather forecasting system and one of the top 25 supercomputers in the world.
Atos is claiming the government made “obvious errors” in evaluating its bid, as it claimed the Met Office chose a lower quality and more expensive computer system.
The lawsuit comes after the UK’s Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) exited a contract with Atos in 2015, after raising concerns about the quality of its work.
The firm’s healthcare subsidiary found itself at the centre of a political scandal following revelations Atos systems led to thousands of people being wrongly denied disability benefits.
MPs also accused the French IT company of misleading the government as to how long it would take to role out the government’s personal independence payments (PIP) benefits,
A spokesperson for Atos said: “As this lawsuit will soon go to court we won’t be commenting at this time.”