Infosys did not work on emergency alerts system

25 April 2023
What was claimed

Infosys was subcontracted to work on the UK’s emergency alerts system.

Our verdict

False. Both the government and Infosys have confirmed this is not true.

We’ve been asked by several of our readers about claims that the UK’s emergency alert system, which was tested on Sunday, was “created by” or “subcontracted to” Infosys, the Indian multinational IT company founded by Rishi Sunak’s father-in-law.

This is not true. A government spokesperson told Full Fact: “This is completely untrue - there are no connections with Infosys in the running of the Emergency Alerts system.”

A spokesperson for Infosys also said: “Infosys has not been involved, directly or indirectly, in the creation of the UK government emergency alert system.”

The claim has also gone viral on Twitter, perhaps most notably shared by the Twitter account for fictional comedic news reporter Jonathon Pie.

The same claim—as well as similar ones that the Japanese multinational IT company Fujitsu “subcontracted” the work out to Infosys—has also been retweeted thousands of times by others.

It’s also been shared thousands of times on Facebook.

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Where did this claim come from?

We have seen several people making this claim point to a 2003 press release from Infosys claiming the company would “provide co-development and functionality enhancement services to the Fujitsu suite of software products”. 

They are still separate entities though, and there’s no evidence all of Fujitsu’s work is “funnelled through” Infosys, as some appear to be claiming.

Fujitsu confirmed to us that it did not subcontract any of its obligations under the Emergency Alert contract to Infosys.

Which companies did work on the emergency alerts system?

It appears that several companies have been involved with the development and planning of the UK’s emergency alert system.

According to the government’s Contracts Finder, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) awarded £665,606 to Fujitsu “to provide service management and project services in support of the development of a UK wide Emergency Alerts system”. This contract ended in July 2022.

Fujitsu was also awarded a contract for between £1.6 million and £5 million by the Government Digital Service for “technical support services” and “IT services” for Emergency Alerts Services. According to Cabinet Office minister Baroness Neville-Rolfe, speaking on 19 April, “in the year that has just finished, we paid Fujitsu £1.6 million for the alerts contract”.

There are likely to be other organisations involved. For example, public IT and digital sector outlet PublicTechnology reported in October 2022 the government had “previously signed five-year contracts with each of the four network operators” and that a “cumulative total of about £16m will be spent via these engagements”.

Some on Twitter have pointed to a company called Everbridge, which provides software to “improve organizational response for critical events”, and claimed the company has been awarded the “main contract” to run the alerts or that they got the “majority of the contract”.

Several outlets reported that the UK’s emergency alert system is “being powered by Public Warning Cell Broadcast technology developed by Everbridge”, with the company’s Senior Government & Public Affairs Manager adding: “We are particularly proud to see the UK government launching its national alerting system, to which Everbridge contributed through the deployment of its public warning technology with the mobile network operators EE, O2, and Three.”

Searching Everbridge on Contracts Finder surfaces several contracts the company has won with public bodies, including a £19,462 contract to provide for “critical event management” to the Crown Commercial Service and £23,337 to provide “critical event management software” to DCMS, amongst others. It’s hard to know how many, if any of these were for the emergency alerts service.

Full Fact has approached Everbridge for comment.

Infosys has previously been awarded several contracts with public bodies for IT services, including £1.7 million with Transport for London, between £300,000 and £4.4 million with the Care Quality Commission and £350,000 with the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency, in recent years. We have written previously about false or misleading claims relating to the company due to its close connection to the Prime Minister’s wife, Akshata Murthy. 

We’ve also written about other false or misleading claims relating to the emergency alerts system, including the false claims the alert will give the government access to your personal data, will breach GDPR, or will activate a “pathogen” in the Covid-19 vaccine.

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