As loyal readers know, HMRC's Aspire contract is regularly given a sound and well deserved kicking by various organs (eg NAO).
This time it falls to PAC to kick the bloated corpse that is Aspire.
The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has warned that HMRC faces an “enormous challenge” in adapting its IT services contract, a change that could cause “havoc” to public finances.
New contract rules set out by the Cabinet Office will require HMRC to move to a short-term contracting model.
Richard Bacon, PAC member and Conservative MP for South Norfolk, is quoted by economia:
“HMRC faces an enormous challenge in moving to a new contracting model by 2017, with many short-duration contracts with multiple suppliers, and appears complacent given the scale of the transformation required.He added that HMRC appeared “overly complacent” given the scale of the required transformation.
Moreover, HMRC’s record in managing IT contractors gives us little confidence that HMRC can successfully achieve this transition or that it can manage the proposed model effectively to maximise value for money.”
“Failure to collect taxes efficiently would create havoc with the public finances.”PAC recommended that HMRC develops and produces a realistic plan as to how it would – along with the Cabinet Office – implement the transition.
HMRC are not worried. An HMRC spokesperson said:
“We are making significant progress in preparing for a smooth and effective transition from the Aspire contract, which will give HMRC control over the development and delivery of digital services and enable us to make efficiencies of up to 25 per cent by 2021.No worries then!
We have already opened one new HMRC digital delivery centre in Newcastle, and have plans for others to increase our in-house digital capability, and in December we agreed an amendment to Aspire which allows us to contract services directly with major IT suppliers.”
Tax does have to be taxing.
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