November 21, 2007 at 12:47 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Channel 4 News mentioned ‘aspire’ in connection with potential HMRC costs involved in extracting non-sensitive data, as requested by the NAO, from the sensitive data records. Unfortunately, I did not hear what was said on the telly, so I googled hmrc aspire.

ASPIRE is an acronym for Acquiring Strategic Partners for the Inland REvenue, according to this success story by Capgemini.

Er, from that tale, this does not sound good for these companies:

The UK’s HMRC service gathers £230 billion in taxes and processes approximately 9 million Self Assessment returns annually. The service has direct links to the 32 million people employed in the UK. In tendering the renewal of its IT contract, a key aim was the transformation of its operations to meet three significant external challenges: modernising government, welfare reform and eGovernment.

The HMRC’s Aspire (Acquiring Strategic Partners for the Inland REvenue) procurement was about finding a technology and business partner to work in transforming the delivery of its services. Worth at least £3 billion (€4.3 billion), the contract – the biggest in IT history – is for an initial ten years, with the possibility of an eight-year extension. Capgemini will be the prime contractor and its key partners, Fujitsu Services and British Telecom, have been involved from the beginning.

Transformation and Innovation

John Yard, Chief Information Officer of HMRC explains, “We not only wanted efficiency, we wanted a transformation of the way that government business is performed. That involves making much more use of information technology and being much more organised and innovative in the way that data is gathered for the benefit of individuals.” The selection criteria included the potential for strategic partnership, the ability to deliver the HMRC’s service requirements, the ability to innovate and deliver technology-enabled change and the ability to manage the transition from the incumbent. After a lengthy bid process HMRC announced Capgemini as its new technology partner on December 11, 2003.

They seem to have done pretty well gathering data. Unfortunately this has not been for the benefit of individuals. (Unless you feel like capitalising the Benefit and inserting Child before it, i.e. “being much more organised and innovative in the way that data is gathered for the Child Benefit of individuals.”)

Apparently, it would have been too costly for HMRC to have complied with NAO’s request to send only for the limited amount of data. So they sent the lot. (Given the choice between sending all or nothing, in this case nothing would have been a wiser option.)


P.S. Old BBC News on Capgemini ASPIRE



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  1. Capgemini is apparently one of the UK’s biggest IT employers. Unfortunately, every mention I’ve ever heard of it (and there have been many) has also been accompanied by tales of extreme and institutionalised incompetence, in both the IT and management fields. 😦

  2. “£3 billion (€4.3 billion)” dates it somewhat 🙂

  3. Yes, it dates it back to sometime after “After a lengthy bid process HMRC announced Capgemini as its new technology partner on December 11, 2003.”

    The computer system sounds more like it dates back fifteen years behind enterprise systems. It would be interesting to know more. I have just been sent the Channel 4 link and remarked after watching it here.

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