The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has contracted Accenture for the major component of its client register systems integration in a $40.2 million deal.
The contract covers design, building, testing and implementation services for the ongoing MR4 Client Register Project and runs for approximately 18 months from September 2013 to March 2015.
The Department’s client register systems are currently responsible for a variety of online, phone, paper and face-to-face client interactions with the ATO, including taxpayer records and tax file number registrations.
The MR4 project aims to integrate numerous systems into a single client register that links to the Australian Business Register. The ATO is also working towards developing a single processing capability for all Tax Product forms and payments.
The development of a single system is underpinned by the integration of client registration services with The ATO’s new Integrated Core Processing (ICP) and Siebel platforms, which began in December 2012. The ICP platform is already linked to the pay as you go and fringe benefits tax systems, and is responsible for the automatic processing of individual tax returns since 2012.
The timeline for the client register project involves the transferal of intermediary and non-business registrations onto the ICP system in early 2013. The migration of superannuation administration functions and other none-business returns processing onto the ICP platform is due at the end of 2013, according to the ATO's 2011-12 annual report.
The ATO’s systems integration program is part of its broader aim of progressively retiring redundant legacy systems and interfaces and enhancing core platform agility, including better electronic service delivery.
The ATO has also contracted Accenture for a number of other services relating to the systems integration project since April 2013, under four contracts worth a total of $11.3 million:
- An $844,000 contract for project management and high level design services for the MR4 project, from 1 April 2013 to 30 June 2013;
- A $232,000 contract for high level design and build advice services for the client register release, from 29 April 2013 to 30 June 2013;
- A $3.4 million contract for support services in the design and build stage of the MR4 project, from 3 June 2013 to 30 August 2013; and
- A $6.8 million contract for the design, building, testing and implementation of the Australian Business Register enhancement project, from 26 April 2013 to 30 January 2014.
The ATO currently operates over 750 systems that complete an average of 3.8 million transactions daily and around 1.4 billion annually, according to the annual report.
The Department approached the market for the MR4 Client Register Project through its IT Applications Services panel. The suppliers eligible to provide services through this panel are:
- Hewlett-Packard; and
According to Intermedium’s Analyse IT more than $180 million worth of contracts have been signed through the panel since it was established in 2011, and Accenture has been the biggest winner of work through the panel with $121 million of this total. The panel will reach its initial expiry in July 2014.
The ATO has had extensive dealings with Accenture prior to this project, with the technology firm providing the bulk of services under the major $757 million ICT Change Program that ended in 2010.
Accenture provided ICT systems design and replacement services worth a total of $677 million over seven years, including the initial stages of the ICP system development.
A report by the Inspector-General of Taxation found that changes to the scope of the Program since the development of the original business case in 2004 saw an increase in its budget from $445 million to $780 million in 2009. Added functionality and support requirements also led to a rise in the value of the ATO’s contract with Accenture from an original fixed price of $230.7 million.
Although the cost increases were mainly found to be due to changes in the scope of the program, the Inspector-General also identified issues with the governing structures established between the ATO and Accenture.
A cost-benefit review of the Program by Aquitaine is now available on the ATO’s website.
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