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Bain & Company to help HMRC move away from Aspire contract

HMRC has awarded its transformation partner contract to Bain & Company to help the department transition away from the Aspire outsourcing deal

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has chosen Bain & Company as its transformation partner to help the department prepare for the end of its £800m-a-year Aspire contract.

According to a contract award notice, HMRC received nine bids for the contract, worth up to £20m, and has chosen consultancy firm Bain & Company as its partner.

HMRC went out to tender in June 2015 to find a partner to help with the strategic and cultural issues that will emerge when it migrates away from the Aspire outsourcing deal, which expires in June 2017.

The department was looking for "a strategic lead partner who has a deep and expert knowledge of the task facing HMRC to support the programme management team exit from a large-scale outsourced IT arrangement”, according to the original tender document.

The contract was due to begin in September 2015 and will run to the end of August in 2017, a few months after the Aspire contract ends, the tender stated.

Bain & Company will work alongside HMRC employees as part of a programme management office to oversee the transition away from the Aspire contract.

However, there have been concerns over whether the department will be able to replace the single-supplier contract. In January 2015, the Public Accounts Committee warned the department that it wouldn’t be able to move away from the Aspire contract by its set deadline.

The 10-year Aspire outsourcing deal is one of the biggest IT contracts ever signed by the UK government, and has been heavily criticised over the years for its high costs. By the end of the contract, its prime contractor Capgemini will have cashed in £10.4bn of taxpayers’ money on the deal.

HMRC aims to save £200m a year by scrapping the contract and in preparation it has begun to transfer 250 Capgemini staff in-house.

Capgemini will also help HMRC move several services such as Case Management, Excite and MOIS Procurement services in-house ahead of the contract end.

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