HMRC launches £140m procurement to support comms digitisation

Five-year contract will cover all incoming and outgoing messages and ambition to operate in ‘similar ways to leading private sector companies’

HM Revenue and Customs is seeking to appoint a £100m-plus supplier to deliver all of the department’s incoming and outgoing communications with citizens over the coming years, and support increased digitisation of messages.

The department has opened bidding that will bring together under one contract all of the department’s requirements for inbound and outbound comms, covering mail, email, and SMS messages. The deal is also intended to support HMRC’s ambitions to drive increasing digitisation of customer communications.

“Through this opportunity, HMRC is looking for a supplier(s) who have capabilities to enable the effective and efficient management, and deliver of both inbound and outbound communications, designed to support HMRC and its customers with the collection of tax and administering of benefits and support of customs operations,” the contract notice said. “HMRC has a bold ambition to increase and encourage the use of digital channels to communicate with customers in similar ways to leading private sector companies.”

The contract will run for an initial term of five years, at a cost of £140m. HMRC will have the option of extending this by two further terms of 12 months.

The procurement document added that the impact of the increased use of digital platforms will include “more convenient [and] faster means of transacting with HMRC” for citizens, as well as “improved ways of working and [enabling] re-focus onto high value work” for the department’s workforce.

The digitisation could also help “drive increased compliance and close the tax gap” and enable HMRC to reduce its volumes of printed material.

To assist with this digital transformation, the chosen supplier will be tasked providing the tax agency with “support, advice, and innovation to create and jointly deliver efficiencies in the current service and in how to move towards digital channels in the space of input and output communication”.

Bids for the contract are open until 1 June, with the chosen provider expected to enter into an initial five-year deal with HMRC in early 2024. The launch of the tender process comes following a market-engagement exercise conducted by the department last summer.

Sam Trendall

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