The Department for Transport will spend up to £750 million on a contract for the management of it’s Shared Services Centre (SSC) lasting up to ten years, according to a tender notice published on Thursday.
The notice updates the cost of the contract from the department’s prior announcement in March, which capped the price at £500 million.
A company making a successful tender would, the DfT website says, "acquire the DfT Shared Service Centre in Swansea (including accommodation, staff obligations and its assets)". The contract would see the winning company providing HR, finance, payroll and procurement requirements for the DfT and four agencies: the Driving Standards Agency, the Vehicle Certification Agency, the Highways Agency and the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency.
The SSC currently runs on an SAP platform and has around 15,000 users across those agencies, but is capable of catering for up to three times more, according to a DfT spokesperson. The DfT said that an organisation whose core business is shared services could make better use of the SSC, "taking full advantage of the Shared Service Centre’s spare capacity to help it grow far faster".
"A fully utilised centre would help reduce costs to the department as well as bringing greater job opportunities to Swansea," said a DfT spokesperson
The DfT’s shared services attempts have been criticised in the past by the National Audit Office (NAO) and a Public Accounts Committee (PAC).
In 2008, the NAO said that the DfT shared services efforts could end up costing £80 million rather than saving £57 million as proposed.
The PAC described the DfT Shared Service Centre as "one of the worst" projects it has seen, also in 2008.