This follows a short trial earlier this year with a private sector supplier.
Key outcomes of the trial included 16,000 cases being reviewed, with 5,500 identified as containing error and fraud, and £20 million of potential losses identified. The trial demonstrated the potential for significant benefits through the use of private supplier technology, for example through sophisticated data analytics.
Ministers have now asked HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) to explore the types of service the commercial sector can offer on a larger scale, and to engage with potential suppliers to gain an informed understanding of indicative costs, benefits and timelines ahead of an invitation to tender. This includes a focus on potential funding models that could deliver real savings to the public purse, for example using a “payments by and from results” model.
The overall aim is to add capacity to HMRC’s existing workforce in order to significantly increase the number of successful tax credits compliance interventions, and to drive down error and fraud which, although at its lowest level yet, cost the taxpayer £2.09 billion in incorrect payments in 2011 to 2012.
HMRC already works successfully with the private sector, for example to collect debt and to identify high-risk tax credits claims. The department believes a similar arrangement can deliver a significant reduction in levels of tax credits error and fraud.
Any supplier will be required to operate under strict adherence to HMRC’s legislative framework and must meet stringent security standards.