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Somerset Councils’ £4.6M Overpayments, Who is to Blame?

The recently revealed shocking overpayment worth £4.6 million made by a couple of Somerset councils and the region’s police forces portrays the risks of common failure while deploying ESS (enterprise software systems), claimed the SAP UK and Ireland User Group.

The overpayment which occurred in a span of two years, started when the shared IT services firm Southwest One first deployed the SAP financial software for automating payments.

The firm was introduced some 4 years back in 2007, and it was the outcome of a combined effort put by Taunton Deane Borough Council, Somerset County Council, Avon and Somerset Police and IBM to cut the cost of IT operations.

The fault in the system and the overpayment issues were first noticed almost a year back in August 2010. However, the matter attracted public’s interest only after BBC News covered a thoroughly investigated report on the issue earlier this week.

"Problems around large software implementations are not uncommon. However, it's generally not the software that is at fault but instead the problem is often around the way it has been configured, implemented or tested," Alan Bowling, chairman, UK and Ireland SAP User Group said in a statement, Computer Weekly reports.