The National Outsourcing Association (NOA) has come out in support of CSC's compulsory redundancy plans, which affect IT staff working on the failed, £12.7 billion National Programme for IT (NPfIT).

CSC announced in February that it would be cutting up to 500 staff after booking a £943 million charge on the NHS's failed contract.

Workers who are members of Unite the union today staged protests over the company's insistence on issuing compulsory redundancy notices despite receiving a "sufficient" number of volunteer requests to leave the company.

However, the NOA believes that CSC is simply trying to keep its best staff by not accepting voluntary redundancies, and said that the private company should be able to choose how to reorganise its workforce "as it sees fit".

"If CSC were to offer voluntary redundancies, it would be the people it really wanted to keep who'd be first out of the door," said Martyn Hart, NOA chairman.

"The IT industry is experiencing major skill shortages and genuine talent is in demand. The people volunteering for redundancies are most likely the ones who could quickly walk into a lucrative job elsewhere, the Cobalt coders and suchlike.

"CSC simply cannot afford to lose all of its best talent as it goes through this transitional phase."

At the time of the redundancies announcement, CSC has pledged to minimise compulsory cuts, by redeploying some staff and offering others a voluntary redundancy package.

But after several weeks of consultation, Unite said that the company was insisting on issuing compulsory redundancy notices.

CSC's new CEO Mike Lawrie recently said that he believes the troubled business 'can be fixed', despite facing significant challenges including the unresolved contractual negotiations with the NHS.

Meanwhile, a senior MP slammed the Ministry of Defence's (MoD) decision to chose CSC over HP and Capita to provide it with payroll and personnel services, labelling it as "regrettable" given the supplier's performance on the NHS contract.