What will happen to the multi-billion Aspire IT contract in 2017?

One of my colleagues interviewed the new HMRC CIO this week. Mark Hall took over from the previous CIO Phil Pavitt late last year.

One of the interesting things he said is that the Aspire contract. The Aspire contact was signed in 2004 and at the time was one of the biggest outsourcing deals, worth £2.6bn.  The original Aspire contract was between the department, Capgemini, Fujitsu and BT. Capgemini is the lead supplier.

This is set to change in 2017, if Hall’s words are anything to go by.

Hall said: “We are working around sourcing, with Aspire due to end in 2017, Phil had already done a lot to introduce competition. My piece is to work toward 2017, how do we build capability internally, commercial, business analysis, digital capability, agile?” The new model will involve a mixed economy, rather than one big contract.”

Add to this the fact that HMRC has recently said it will increase its in-house IT resources with a plan to double its number of software developers to 600 in moves to reduce its reliance on large outsourcers.  And let’s not forget the government wants to end the dominance in IT contracts of a few large suppliers.

So with the huge Aspire contract, in its current form, coming to an end in 2017 it will be very interesting to see how the HMRC changes sourcing. It could be repeated across government when big contracts come to an end.

One source told me that he expects the HMRC will follow the standard System Integration and Management (SIAM) model with separate contracts for different service towers.

Robert Morgan, director at sourcing consultancy Burnt-Oak Partners, says in the Aspire contract many of the sub-contractors have failed to deliver and Capgemini has not been particularly successful in the service integration.

He says the government has broadly two options. It can take responsibility for the service integration itself of break the contract up and encourage the different suppliers to innovate.

“The service integration role would suit a company like Accenture or Deloitte but the problem when you are the service integrator is that you cannot bid for any of the work.”

So we will be watching the HMRC in 2017 to see what happens, but if you have any thoughts please let me know.