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HMRC to transfer 250 Capgemini staff in-house ready for Aspire contract end

HMRC’s Aspire outsourcing contract will be replaced by slowly bringing staff in-house to give the department more control over IT

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) is to transfer 250 Capgemini staff into the department to support plans for ending its £800m-a-year Aspire outsourcing mega-deal

As part of its programme to replace Aspire, the department has been planning how to re-provision IT services in a cost-effective way. HMRC aims to save £200m a year by scrapping the contract when it expires in 2017.

Capgemini, one of the three firms taking part in the current IT contract, sent an email this week to staff working on the project explaining that HMRC is looking to move more of its business-critical services in-house.

This will include the transfer of “around 250 roles” to HMRC by December 2015 ahead of the end of the Aspire contract in two years’ time.

“As you know, HMRC wish to explore an approach for a phased transition and we have been working with them to achieve an appropriate balanced outcome for both parties.” the Capgemini email said.

“Our joint aim remains to work together to ensure an uninterrupted, high-quality service for customers, greater certainty of employment for our staff and to avoid the risk which would come from a 'big bang' approach occurring in a short space of time.”

In the lead up to the end of the Aspire contract, Capgemini will help HMRC to move several services, including the Case Management, Excite and MOIS Procurement services under HMRC’s direct control by the end of this year.

HMRC has confirmed the plans, stating that the 250 people transfering from Capgemini will be those working on either the Case Management unified platform, the Customs and International (Excite) platform which deals with duty free goods and VAT refunds between EU member state tax authorities, as well as other third-party supply contracts.

“HMRC has chosen these particular areas as they view them as critical to enabling their business productivity savings.” said Capgemini’s email.

“In Case Management, HMRC want to build up their capability to avoid reliance upon costly third-party contractor support, while Excite is a key platform supporting changes to Customs and International in alignment with the future direction of the Chief system.”

According to the email, further steps and services in the Aspire replacement programme will be decided depending on the outcome of these moves.

“We have an ambitious digital vision – to transform our IT services and use the data we hold in smarter ways, so we can deliver world-beating digital services for our customers and colleagues,” Mark Dearnley, HMRC’s chief digital and information officer, said in a statement.

“The changes we’re announcing today will allow us to maintain consistency of service for customers while we plan for the future which, as now, will include a mixed model of both internal and external delivery using multiple partners.”

HMRC also agreed to extend the the Capgemini "Test and Release service" contract for a further three years until June 2020.

HMRC has had plans for a while to increase its in-house remit and in early 2015, Capgemini warned its staff that the department would change its outsourcing strategy to use smaller, cheaper contracts.  

“We outlined at that point that HMRC has to apply, where possible, the government directive on IT procurement which includes the signing of smaller contracts and awarding more work to smaller suppliers. In addition, HMRC is also seeking to take greater direct control of the development and provision of IT services.” said the email.

This marks one of the many big steps HMRC is taking to transform in the wake of its £800m per year outsourcing deal, and earlier this year was seeking a “lead transformation partner” to help with the strategic and cultural issues which can arise following large migrations.

The department also confirmed it would be moving many of its tax systems to the cloud, and is using cloud computing and infrastructure automation to increase its ability to deliver digital services.

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