B&M and DLA thrash out Accenture exit from NHS deal

IT lawyers from DLA Piper and Baker McKenzie are locked in talks to negotiate Accenture’s exit from the £12.4bn National Programme for IT in the NHS.

Both the government and Accenture view avoiding future disputes over the exit as a top priority.

One observer said: “It is termination by mutual agreement and there almost certainly will be a waiver of claims for both sides.”

DLA Piper partner Richard Bonnar is representing the government, with an IT team from Baker & McKenzie acting for Accenture.

Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC) is stepping in to pick up Accenture’s contracts. CSC does most work in-house, led by with a legal team led by Mike Phillips and Michael Woodfine.

Accenture won two of the five key contracts worth £1bn each and is the second biggest IT supplier on the project. It was advised by CMS Cameron McKenna on the original deal.

The company expected to make a loss of $450m in total on the project, but saw this figure grow after subcontractor iSoft ran into difficulties delivering essential software.

Under the agreements with the Secretary of State for Health, suppliers only get paid when they deliver the IT systems.

Accenture had to pay out on its fixed costs while not receiving any revenue and so decided to cut its losses.

Another IT lawyer said: “All IT lawyers want to see successful contracts. No one wins in a situation like this.”

The government’s legal bill for the NHS IT project stood at £28.2m in July, which was shared between Allen & Overy, DLA Piper and Milbank Tweed Hadley & McCloy.