ICL's ambitions to list on the UK Stock Exchange were dealt another blow last week when Shrewsbury and Atcham Borough Council filed a High Court writ alleging that the vendor had supplied defective software and is suing for damages in excess of £300,000.
The vendor is already battling widespread speculation that the departments of Trade and Industry and Social Security will cancel the £1 billion Pathway project it is implementing in post offices across the UK (PC Dealer, 12 May).
In the High Court filing, the council alleged that ICL induced it to enter into contracts for the supply of software and hardware through misrepresentations.
The borough also claimed ICL was negligent and breached common law duties of care in the supply and implementation of products between March 1992 and August 1995.
The case stemmed from the council's 1992 purchase of an ICL Unix software package designed to manage tax billing for local governments called C-Tax.
Andrew Footner, borough solicitor at Shrewsbury and Atcham Council, said the software frequently failed to produce the correct council tax bills.
'There seemed no rhyme or reason as to why the errors occurred so we had no confidence in the system and could not send out bills, which meant we were down on revenue collection,' he said.
Footner added the hardware recommended by ICL to yield optimum performance from the software failed to improve response times.
The borough eventually replaced ICL's system with a package from Sanderson Group costing £143,000.
Footner said attempts to settle the issue with ICL had faltered. 'It offered to replace the software with a mainframe-based system but we wanted Unix. ICL denied any liability for the losses we sustained and it obviously wasn't prepared to offer us compensation for the replacement software we ended up buying elsewhere.'
A representative at ICL confirmed the vendor was aware of the legal proceedings, but declined to comment further.
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