Indian firm TCS takes Home office contract from under Capita's nose

Interesting story today that India’s biggest IT services firm has won a major government contract from under the nose of the UK’s Capita.

According to the Public and Commercial Services Union, “Capita members who work on the Criminal Records Contract in Liverpool have been informed that the Home Office has announced its intention to award the DBS contract to Tata Consultancy Services (TCS). The Home Office is currently finalising discussions with TCS on the implementations plans of the 5 year contract which will start in 2013.”

Capita has been running the Criminal Records disclosure service for over 10 years. The contract is worth hundreds of millions.  It had been shortlisted for a contract on the government’s new Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS). But it looks like TCS has got it.
DBS is the merger between the Criminal Records Bureau, that helps employers make recruitment decisions, and the Independent Safeguarding Authority, which prevents unsuitable people from working in certain places.

With cost cutting on the agenda in government it was only a matter of time that Indian firms started winning government contracts. Even sensitive ones it seems.

How far will the coalition go in its bid to get the best price it can for services?

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When Legal & General outsourced much of its IT work to TCS, the L&G staff were also TUPEd over to TCS. TCS replaced most of them with cheap staff from India as soon as it could and fired most of the UK-based staff. Check out what ex-staff of L&G had to say about their experience of outsourcing to TCS at the "Broken Brolly" bulletin board:

Meanwhile, you yourself have reported on claims that TCS also overcharged L&G for its services:

And L&G are just one of their many customers.

Companies like TCS are famous for firing the staff who are TUPEd over to them under outsourcing deals, and as Kay Minder reported to the Home Affairs Committee in 2010 these companies rarely create jobs for UK-based IT workers either.

Awarding these people a UK government contract sounds like a major case of shooting the taxpayer in the foot. Perhaps the PCS union should call for a judicial review of this decision, given the implications both for lost UK jobs (which will impact on the taxpayer through increased benefits bills and lost earnings and tax revenues) and for potential over-charging to the taxpayer?

TCS are doing just this at Jaguar Landrover in the Midlands and Liverpool. I.T. staff are going through knowledge transfer (KT) with TCS staff who have been brought in directly from India on Intra Company Transfer (ICT) visas. I.T. contractors who in some cases have worked with the company for years are starting to receive their finishing dates, with just weeks to transfer decades of knowledge. The TCS staff seem to be on very low salaries and very high expense accounts which are tax and N.I free of course. What happened to British Jobs For British Workers…….

Indian firms have such a bad reputation for quality, for meeting schedules and for non delivery that I am continually surprised they win big contracts. My guess is that this contract was awarded purely on price. Get ready for the cost overruns, the change management charges etc.

The TCS subsidiary Diligenta took over Unisys Insurance Services Limited's (UISL) UK life & pensions services business in Liverpool 2 years ago and the staff were TUPE'd. There were promises of expansion and more jobs:

In reality (and despite Diligenta winning Friends Life business last year), there have been redundancies since then and now 140 jobs are due to be offshored to India:

It looks like more sad news for IT jobs in Liverpool if TCS gets the DBS contract and continues it destruction of UK IT jobs.