HMRC floats £24m in contracts to support key digital platforms

Written by Sam Trendall on 10 October 2019 in News

Up to four suppliers to be appointed to deals to provide services for digital tax and transaction-monitoring systems

HM Revenue and Customs is seeking a select group of suppliers to fulfil contracts supporting two of its core digital platforms.

The tax authority has issued a contract notice via the Digital Marketplace seeking support with “continuous integration [and] continuous delivery” (CI-CD) services for its multi-channel digital tax platform (MDTP). CI-CD is a style of software development that focuses on allowing code to be added to, altered and tested via small and frequent changes – rather than occasional sweeping updates.

HMRC is looking for external providers that can provide support to six “blended teams” currently working on MDTP. These teams are largely made up of infrastructure engineers, software developers, quality assurance testers, delivery leads, product owners, and business analysts. 

The tax platform, which launched in 2014, operates on a platform-as-a-service basis, according to HMRC, and is hosted by Amazon Web Services in its London region.

“All of HMRC's modern, customer-facing digital services accessed via GOV.UK reside on this platform,” the department said. “MDTP also provides services and dashboards to many thousands of internal staff.”

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It added: “The platform roadmap envisages MDTP's continued evolution as a cutting-edge PaaS, so there is plenty of transformative feature work in addition to the live running aspects.”

The tax agency has published a near-identical contract notice seeking support for its transaction-monitoring platform – a security tool which involves the recording and analysis of audit data to help prevent fraud.

The deals, which are each expected to last two years, are respectively worth £6m and £6.3m per annum. For both contracts, HMRC is seeking up to two suppliers. 

However, in each case, the department said it “requires a single proposal to deliver all aspects of the requirement”. This could be in the form of a single-supplier bid, a consortium in which one company or a newly created entity serves as the lead bidder, or one supplier proposing to be “supported by one or more subcontractors”.

Despite questions from suppliers, the department declined to divulge who the incumbent suppliers are in either case. In the contract notice for MDTP support, it said that this information was “not relevant”.

In a follow-up question, a supplier disagreed, claiming this information “extremely relevant, as if there is a current incumbent it would tend to make it untenable for further bids to be made”.

HMRC responded: “HMRC currently have supplier(s) engaged in this activity, who these suppliers are has no relevance. Any supplier who is registered on the DOS4 (Digital Outcomes and Specialists 4) framework and with the capability to fulfil the requirement will be able to apply for this opportunity. Shortlisted suppliers will be assessed fairly to find the supplier that best meets our needs.”

The contract for MDTP support is open for bids until midnight on 15 October, with bidding on the transaction monitoring deal closing 48 hours later.


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Sam Trendall is editor of PublicTechnology

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