The tax collector insisted that so far three bidders likely to be invited to tender have been short-listed for the ASPIRE partnership contract, though details of the likely contestants were not revealed in the Department’sformal response to a report from the Public Accounts Committee.
They claimed to be working with the bidders and said they would wherenecessary take further steps to ensure all had an equal chance – sofar these include the announcement that the Government will meet theunique costs of a change-over to a new partner and will not count thesecosts in evaluating competitors.
Fears that the barriers for competitors ‘may be too great’ ina deal likely to be worth over £4 billion, have been expressed by the committee amidst claims that Accenture have been allowedto make ‘super profits’.
The Treasury admitted the two Inland Revenue private sector partners dohave the benefit of incumbency, but they claimed the IR ‘has made a determined effort to ensure that potential suppliers fully understand that it is serious about wanting an open and genuine competition.’
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