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HMRC snatches back £200m in Aspire outsource rejig

Revised deal gives taxman more 'control'

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HM Revenue and Customs will save more than £200m by 2017 after renegotiating its Aspire outsourcing contract with Capgemini, according to Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude.

The Aspire deal covers IT services including desktops, laptops and a number of tax and credit systems such as online VAT filing. The contract, which is led by Capgemini and includes some 360 other suppliers, was renegotiated in January.

As well as lowering the cost per unit of IT services, the renegotiations will give HMRC greater control over the volume of work going through Aspire, according to the Cabinet Office. The department will also be able to control the Aspire subcontractors directly – previously the responsibility of Capgemini.

"The negotiations have also given Capgemini the opportunity to adapt its services and delivery model to align much more closely with the government's ICT strategy and its drive for a more competitive IT market place," the Cabinet Office said.

"No longer do we have a unique SI relationship with Aspire and Capgemini," HMRC CIO Phil Pavitt told the all-party Parliamentary group on outsourcing and shared services today. "We have introduced competition at all levels. There's no longer exclusivity between us and our partners."

The original Aspire – Acquiring Strategic Partners for the Inland Revenue – contract was signed by the Inland Revenue in 2004. It was agreed for 10 years and was worth nearly £3bn. The deal has been regularly revised and extended since then, including revisions in 2008 and 2009.

HMRC's spending through Aspire has fallen in recent years: it decreased from £765m in 2009-10 to £721m in 2010-11.

HMRC has reduced its spending on IT from £1.4bn to £700m in two years, according to Pavitt.

This article was originally published at Guardian Government Computing.

Guardian Government Computing is a business division of Guardian Professional, and covers the latest news and analysis of public sector technology. For updates on public sector IT, join the Government Computing Network here.

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