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Revenue and Customs

Volume 505: debated on Tuesday 2 February 2010

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what plans there are to outsource welfare support for staff of HM Revenue and Customs; (314285)

(2) what assessment his Department has made of the value for money provided by the welfare support services operating within HM Revenue and Customs.

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) is committed to achieving significant reductions in its running costs year on year for the foreseeable future.

In relation to the Department's Business and People Support Service, which employs 37 staff to provide an in-house welfare service, HMRC has concluded that it requires a different type of service to be commissioned because:

current facilities do not provide the 24 hour/7 days a week service available commercially;

the external market is well-established, with cost-effective and high-quality provision available from a range of providers; and

there are both cost and service advantages in joining with DWP and other Government Departments and public sector organisations (around 35 in total) who use an outsourced provider.

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) is therefore proposing to outsource its welfare services and has joined the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and other departments in a tendering exercise.

Joining DWP in a contract involving up to three hundred thousand staff is likely to offer large economies of scale and substantial financial savings. In November 2009, DWP issued an invitation to tender, which closed on 15 January 2010. Evaluation of responses to the tender is underway including a full financial and value for money review of in-house and potential outsourced service options.