HMRC picks Deloitte as £100m tech partner for digital Single Trade Window

Tax agency has signed a potential seven-year deal with consultancy firm covering a range of design and delivery services for the UK’s digital platform to support government’s interaction with traders

HM Revenue and Customs has signed a £100m deal with Deloitte to serve as the major technology partner for the unified post-Brexit digital system to support traders’ interactions with government.

The Single Trade Window (STW) project – which forms part of the government’s wider 2025 UK Border Strategy – is intended to provide traders with a single digital platform through which they can submit information once only, with data then shared, as required, between all relevant teams and agencies.

Work on the project is being led by HMRC but, in a commercial notice announcing the Deloitte contract award, the department said that “the STW programme is a cross-government project and priority [and] all departments and agencies that have a presence at the border are engaged as key delivery partners”.

In a deal that came into effect at the start of this month, Deloitte has been appointed to serve as the programme’s “technology delivery partner that can co-design, build, operate and maintain a market-leading digital platform”.

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The agreement runs for an initial term of three years, but can be incrementally extended by a further four, which would take the ultimate end date to 31 May 2030. The potential total value of the contract is given as £100.25m.

STW began offering its first digital services in summer 2021 and tools featured on the platform currently include online guidance services for both importers and exporters.

Over the coming months and years, the plan is to ramp up the services offered via STW to encompass online import and export declarations and other instances of formal data submissions. The programme also has ambitions to enable government’s vision of an “ecosystem of trust”, in which greater use of data and technology – such as geolocation tools and digital seals for cargo – will help reduce the need for physical border checks.

The Deloitte contract notice said: “The chosen supplier will need to work flexibly with the STW Programme and its delivery partners across HMG departments to ensure the service design and delivery of the STW is fit for now and for the future, to enable the range of ambitious border transformations that government is undertaking. These ambitions include the integration of supply chain data into HMG’s border model and ultimately implementation of the Ecosystem of Trust model which HMG is currently piloting with industry. The contract with the chosen technical delivery partner will include clear mechanisms that will enable both the buyer and the supplier to be responsive to future changes that the government wishes to implement at the border, supporting the cross-government and cross-nation evolution of the UK border.”

The spending review in November 2021 provided funding of £180m to support work on the Single Trade Window programme during the three-year period commencing in April 2022.

The most recently released set of HMRC major project data specified a final delivery date for STW of 31 March 2027, with costs of £198m over the programme’s lifespan. The Infrastructure and Projects Authority gave the project a delivery confidence rating of amber.

Sam Trendall

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