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Capita is alleged to have provided software it sold to Montagu to schools in NI without a licence

Capita is alleged to have provided software it sold to private equity firm ESS for £400 million to schools in Northern Ireland without a licence.

Screenshot at

Image: Montagu

The software in question is called Education Software Solutions (ESS), which helps schools keep track of attendance and record vital safeguarding information.

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Capita sold ESS to Montagu Private Equity in 2020 as part of a debt reduction plan.

However, Capita continued to provide ESS to schools in Northern Ireland under licence. In March 2023, ESS claims that the licence expired.

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Capita disputes this, saying that it accepted an extension of the licence during a phone call.

ESS has now asked the High Court to intervene in the dispute.

It wants the court to declare that no valid extension was made and to force Capita to stop providing ESS to schools in Northern Ireland.

If ESS is successful, it could mean that around 1,100 schools in Northern Ireland would have to delete copies of the software that Capita has provided them with.

This could cause disruption to schools and could also put children at risk.Capita has said that it will “robustly defend” its position in the legal proceedings.

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