All quiet on bids for Revenue IT contract

The £4bn IT contract, currently in EDS hands, covering 73,000 desktops and 200 systems, will expire in 2004, but last year the Revenue’s IT director John Yard said EDS is not guaranteed to retain the lucrative contract.

The Revenue wants the outsourcing deal, which could stretch to 18 years, to go to a single contractor, or consortium, which would start work in April 2004, according to a notice published in the European Official Journal.

It said the ideal number of tenders is three but it will accept up to five candidates.

The deadline for requests to take part is May, but possible contenders for the outsourcing deal are cagey over their intentions.

A CSC spokeswoman said: ‘We haven’t made a decision yet. We will be looking at what we need to do and weighing it up.’

IBM Global Services’ response was even more reticent: ‘In the interest of customer confidentiality it is IBM policy not to disclose any negotiations that are taking place with any of our customers.’

Meanwhile EDS is more gung-ho about its chances. A spokeswoman said: ‘Of course we are going for it. We are deeply involved and embedded in the InlandRevenue. We don’t just want to win it. We want to redevelop and expand the services and benefits.’

Richard Holway, analyst at Ovum Holway, said he backs EDS’ chances: ‘The number of outsourcing deals that change hands are as rare as hens’ teeth, but the Revenue has got to be seen to be fair.’

He said the bidding costs are prohibitive and may put off some companies. ‘They often cost a company millions of pounds. But there’s always hope. The TV licensing deal was taken from Consignia.’

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