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HMRC plots £1bn debt recovery contract

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) is planning to launch a major tender for the provision of debt recovery services that will have the capacity to accommodate debt placements to the tune of £1bn per year.

HMRC’s commercial directorate has revealed a prior information notice – a forerunner to a full tender – to provide potential bidders with information on its plans to seek debt collection-type matters. Full details are sketchy but the body is presently undertaking a “gathering exercise… to identify the types of services that may be required”. The provisional plan is to split the contract into lots for debt collection agency services and allied debt collection services. Bidders for the latter will need to comply with a performance specification to enhance debt recovery rates through more effective use of available data, analytical tools or market knowledge.

Significantly, there is potential for further pan-Government opportunities. Successful bidders could be allowed to work for other Central Government departments, executive agencies and non-departmental public bodies. This would open the door to work with scores of organisations, including Acas, the Health and Safety Executive and the Serious Fraud Office.

Last month, it was reported that HMRC’s bad debts stood at £6.4bn, which is a 40 per cent leap on 2009