The Scottish Wide Area Network (SWAN) is currently not believed to be affected by a significant IT systems failure reported today by technology and consulting firm Capita.

The Capita-run ICT network – which connects over 6,000 public sector sites in Scotland, including hospitals and schools – is external infrastructure and therefore not thought to be impacted by the outage.

Staff at the multinational company have not been able to access their internal systems today, in an issue thought to be primarily confined to Microsoft 365 services such as Outlook email and the Teams platforms.

The issue arose this morning at around 7am as workers for the company – which employs 52,000 people and has offices in Britain, Europe, India and South Africa – tried to login.

They reportedly were unable to access systems and got a text at 8:45am informing them of a company-wide issue. The network outage has fuelled speculation that the company has fallen victim to a cyberattack. The National Cyber Security Centre is thought to be assisting in the investigation.

A Capita spokesperson said: “Following a technical problem which has affected access to some of our services today, we can confirm that we have identified an IT issue that is primarily impacting our internal systems. We are working to swiftly restore those services that have been affected and will issue a further update in due course. The cause is being investigated.”

Capita is the number one strategic supplier of business process services (BPS) and technology services to the UK Government with its last annual report in 2022 showing £1.4bn in revenues for its public service division. Those were split by £421m for justice, central government and transport, £294 for defence, fire and security, £253m for local public services, £243m for health and welfare and £234m for education and learning.

Some of the major contracts it holds include recruitment for the British Army, administering the TV licensing scheme for the BBC, and connecting 18m smart meters to the Data Communication’s Company (DCC) network. It also manages the world’s largest Ultra Low Emission Zone for Transport for London.

In Scotland, in addition to SWAN, the company has helped more than 9,000 newly unemployed people into jobs as part of DWP’s Job Entry Targeted Support (JETS) programme.