UK taxman breathes life into old relationship as Capgemini handed £51m deal extension

French vendor joins fellow Aspire alumnus Fujitsu in winning contracts that extend beyond 2022 deadline

IT consultancy and services company Capgemini has signed a £51m agreement to continue supporting UK tax systems first created under a contract HMRC has been planning to replace since 2015.

The French firm was awarded the three-year deal to support Her Majesty's Revenue & Customs' Enterprise Tax Management Platform (ETMP) Enterprise Operations (EOPS) Run & Associated Change Services as a sole supplier under a single lot, according to a contract award notice published last week.

It began work to build and support the systems under the controversial £10bn Aspire contract, a joint venture between Capgemini, Fujitsu, and HMRC first signed in 2004.

According to a case study from 2012 [PDF], the project was designed to implement a new SAP-based ETMP system for all customer-facing tax systems, and migrate Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) onto it, which saved £2m a year, the vendor claimed.

The new deal will raise eyebrows among Whitehall IT watchers as the 16 December 2024 end date for the contracts extends well beyond 2022 when the relationships created under the Aspire deal were planned to come to an end.

An HMRC spokesperson said: “We’ve awarded a contract for a partner to support our Enterprise Tax Management Platform – home to HMRC’s services for business customers – and our internal Finance and HR systems, which followed a rigorous procurement exercise.”

“HMRC ran a procurement for a partner to support our SAP-based Enterprise Tax Management Platform and Enterprise Operations Platform according to a competitive procedure contained within a Crown Commercial Services procurement framework. The Invitation to Tender was published on 25 June 2021. HMRC received multiple bids with the contract being awarded at the end of 2021."

The tax collection agency has so far refused to share the contract notice which is no longer available online.

According to a 2016 report from government spending watchdog the National Audit Office, HMRC initially planned to extend deals related to Aspire – which ended in 2017 – only until 2020.

Capgemini is not the only beneficiary of HMRC deals set to end under the Aspire arrangement. In 2020, HMRC awarded Fujitsu a £168.8m contract without competition to ensure critical applications keep running after projects to replace them were delayed.

The Japan-based IT services firm was given the work to host 13 HMRC applications on its Virtual Managed Environment (VME) Platform.

At the same time, Fujitsu will continue to support the Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (CHIEF) system beyond the 31 March endpoint of the current agreement, according to a tender document.

Both services are set to be run by Fujitsu until 2025.

Meanwhile, the HRMC IT procurement overhaul, in part designed to help the tax collector move on from its monolithic Aspire deal, is slipping. In December last year, it told The Register two of its "cliff-edge" tenders were running behind the timetable set by the government's Infrastructure and Projects Authority.

The Register has requested a comment from HMRC. ®

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