Equiniti wins Northern Ireland Department of Finance contract to build land revenue system… 4 years after project proposal • The Register
Update Northern Ireland’s Department of Finance has awarded IT services company Equiniti a contract worth up to £80m to build a land revenue and benefit system as part of of a four-year contract.
The Department’s Land and Property Services requires a “modern digitally-enabled ICT solution” that will assist in the assessment and collection of rates for domestic and non-domestic properties, and the administration of various rate reliefs such as housing allowance and disability allowance. The system should also manage interfaces with internal and external agency applications, such as the judgment enforcement office.
According to a contract award notice, the new system must be “flexible and adaptable to support new and innovative delivery methods, future changes, and business needs while being user-friendly, customer-focused, and using cross-platforms.” digital self-service”.
The flexibility also comes in the price of the price. The initial price is £14m, although this could increase depending on changing requirements over the course of the contract.
In this, the Ministry of Finance does not do things by halves. The implementation period is expected to last two years, with the resulting software running for at least another nine. It even offers the possibility of extending the contract for three additional periods of 12 months. So not so nimble when it comes to switching contractors, then.
The ministry has also not been particularly responsive in procurement. The prior information notice, which lists the suppliers likely to participate in the work, was published in July 2017, four years ago. A contract notice formally calling for competition appeared in October the following year, meaning the ministry had just under three years to select a supplier, pandemic notwithstanding.
The Ministry of Finance has been contacted for comments.
This isn’t the first time the organization has struggled to speed up its procurement processes. In January, he gave BT a £20m contract extension, without competition, on a project that had risen in value by 138%.
“There are technical reasons relating to the bespoke and complex nature of the solution which would result in substantial duplication of cost and unacceptable technical risk which would not allow the service to be transferred to another provider,” the Ministry of Finance said. Northern Ireland at the time.
BT won the contract to finance the design, construction and operation of the service in 1999 for an initially agreed sum of £46 million. The Northern Ireland Audit Office reported [PDF] that in April 2019, a total of £97.89 million was paid to BT through unit fees, which included transaction fees. Total payments through July 2021 were expected to reach £106.89million, it found.
Updated 30 July 08:28 BST to add:
Following the publication of this article, a spokesperson for the Department of Finance sent us a statement:
“This complex contract was carried out in accordance with the competitive dialogue procedure which consisted of four stages (selection questionnaire; submission of the initial dialogue; submission of the detailed solution and submission of the final offer).
“After the screening questionnaire stage, the three shortlisted bidders were notified of the outcome in December 2018. Approval to proceed with the competitive market dialogue phase was received in March 2019. During the April period 2019 to June 2020, the Authority had an extensive dialogue addressing the technical, financial and legal areas with the three shortlisted bidders.The bidders submitted their final bids in September 2020. The evaluation of the final bids was delayed as the staff have been reassigned to critical priority work in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.®